British Having Discussions Regarding Toxic Waste Shipped Here Instead Of Taking Them Back Pronto


The British Government was having discussions with the Sri Lankan Ministries of Justice and Foreign Relations regarding the case filed over containers of hazardous waste from UK dumped here, a top government official said

Central Environmental Authority (CEA) Director General Hemantha Jayasinghe said that United Kingdom Environmental Agency officials would visit Colombo shortly. He also said that initially UK wanted to take back the waste dumped here. However, with the ongoing court cases, there was no concrete decision as yet. “Our stand is to send back waste to UK. If they don’t’ take back, we have to look for alternatives,” he added.

Jayasinghe said that there were no truth about the move to destroy waste using incinerators here, though the company which imported was keen on doing so. He also agreed with The Island exclusive story on the detection of waste in five more mystery containers from United Kingdom lying at the Colombo port. This story was published on October 11, 2019. Sri Lanka Customs Director Sunil Jayarathna, contacted for comment recently said that such hazardous waste transfers were against Basel Convention. The Customs Department said that they wanted to send the containers back to the UK and were awaiting the verdict of the Court of Appeal.

Colombo Metal Industries and ITL Colombo Limited had used their licenses to import the hazardous waste. The Court of Appeal, on September 20, further extended its Interim Order directing the authorities to prevent any transportation or movement of imported consignments of waste inside the country, until October 21. The Interim Order would not prevent the transportation of the consignments of waste for the purposes of re-exportation. Court of Appeal (President) Yasantha Kodagoda PC and Justice Arjuna Obeysekara made the order regarding a Writ Petition filed against the importation of waste material currently being stored in the Colombo Port and Katunayake Free Trade Zone.

The Court of Appeal directed the Government Analyst to prepare a report on the consignment of waste carrying containers and submit it to the court.The Court order specified that the Government Analyst separately inspect those containers and compile an analytical report.