The Telegraph in the UK reported that the British government has launched an investigation into the containers sent to Sri Lanka as they appeared to contain human remains disguised as recyclable metals. AFP also reported that the containers carried loads of hazardous mortuary and clinical waste.
Several foreign media organizations including Telegraph and Daily Mail news sites in the United Kingdom, France’s AFP and Business Insider have reported on the garbage imported to Sri Lanka.
The Telegraph said the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs was investigating reports that human organs and body parts were inside the container, but said it was yet to be approached by the Sri Lankan authorities. News 1st reached out to Department For Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in the United Kingdom.
The Department said they are awaiting the response of the relevant Sri Lankan authorities as they had contacted them for further information. The report added that inside the crates, customs officials found the “extremely hazardous” materials mixed in with mattresses, plastics, and clinical waste.
Quoting Sri Lanka’s Central Environment Authority, the report added that the waste material brought to the country under the guise of mattresses from the UK is extremely hazardous. Meanwhile, the Surakimu Sri Lanka National Movement staged a demonstration opposite the British High Commission in Colombo and handed over an epistle.
Speaking to the media Chairman of the Surakimu Sri Lanka National Movement Venerable Pahiyangala Ananda Sagara Thero noted that the Board of Investment is now trying not to take the responsibility. He noted that it is very clear that the team including Chairman of the BOI Mangala Yapa, Ranil Wickremesinghe and Malik Samarawickreme are behind this.
He pointed out that the people of this country have a strong backbone and they love the country. He said they do not worry about Britain but about Sri Lanka. The Thero said they are demonstrating opposite the British High Commission to urge them to take their waste back.
He noted that a fair solution was provided, however, after the Defence Chief refused it, another responsible officer came here and a cordial discussion was held with him. Pahiyangala Ananda Thero noted that they initiated an investigation even before the Sri Lankan government did and noted that they will act against the UK Company.
He added that they will also investigate as to how this took place within the Sri Lankan government. He went onto note that they promised to inform their organization with regard to the investigations.
However, it does not seem like the Central Environmental Authority has made an effort to resolve the garbage crisis. Speaking to News 1st, Chairman of the Central Environmental Authority Isuru Devapriya noted that Hayleys had not obtained a permit. He noted that according to the law they have to obtain a permit from the BOI when doing something of this nature.
He went onto note that the Central Environmental Authority is hoping to take legal action against the company in question. According to the Chairman they have also informed the company to re-export the waste material in the containers at CICT and at the Katunayake Free Trade Zone. He noted that the Central Environmental Authority is also conducting an investigation.