A problem which has a solution but has not been solved yet : The waste disposal issue at the Dematagoda Mihindusenpura apartment complex.

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Recently, there have been a number of complaints from the public about the garbage disposal in the Colombo city. Two years ago, waste piled up in several places in Colombo were not properly disposed of causing the streets to stink and the residents were subjected to severe inconvenience. There had been no suitable place in the city to dump the garbage collected in the city, however, a site was finally located to dump garbage. Yet, the residents in the said area continued to show objection towards the issue. 

A similar situation is seen in the “Mihindusenpura” apartment complex that is set up for the middle class community in Dematagoda. During a field research undertaken by a training institute of journalists, it was reported that the garbage of the respective housing complex had not been collected by the Municipality Council since June 2020. Thus, concerns have been raised given that the stagnant garbage could spread dengue and that families with children in the area lived in fear. In order to seek a solution for the issue, a right to information (RTI) application was submitted to the Solid Waste Management Division of the Colombo Municipal Council on 12th November 2020 to  find out whether any action has been taken for a proper garbage disposal mechanism in the area adjacent to the apartment complex. If no action has been taken to remove the garbage, the application inquired who should be addressed to lodge a complaint.

Responding to the RTI application , the Director of Engineering at the Solid Waste Management Division of the Colombo Municipal Council said in a letter that action has already been taken to remove said garbage. Furthermore, it was mentioned that the complaints regarding improper disposal of garbage should be directed to the District Engineer, Solid Waste Management Division, District No. 03, Mihindusenpura or Mr. Erantha Wickramarachchi had to be contacted on 0112-674349 or 0773-465468. He also said that degradable waste would be collected on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays, recyclable waste was collected on Mondays and non – recyclable waste was collected on Wednesdays. Below is a note indicating the collection dates of waste for the ease of reference.

However, a visit to the Mihindusenpura apartment complex in Dematagoda revealed that small piles of rubbish and burnt rubbish were still scattered around the vicinity. Wraps of various products were also found scattered near the houses. Although the Municipal Council has taken steps to remove garbage from the apartment complex premises, the question is if the residents in the area cooperated in the act.

As responsible citizens of the country, we too must support the  government in their measures to ensure public well-being. According to the Solid Waste Management Division of the Colombo Municipal Council, if the waste is managed and disposed of at a specific location on the respective days, garbage will not get piled up and it will be easier for the Municipal Council to dispose of the garbage.If the residents of the area take proper steps to dispose of the garbage under the directives given by the Colombo Municipal Council, the accumulation of the garbage or contamination of the housing complex premises could have been avoided. If the residents also cooperated with the Colombo Municipal Council in the solid waste management activities , it would have been a lot more convenient for both parties and help create a healthier environment for all residents.

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