Interim Order preventing transportation of waste containers further extended | Daily News


Interim Order preventing transportation of waste containers further extended

The Court of Appeal yesterday further extended its Interim Order directing the authorities to prevent any transportation or movement of imported consignments of waste materials inside the country, until October 21. However, this Interim Order would not prevent the transportation of concerned consignments of waste materials for the purposes of re-exportation.

Court of Appeal (President) Yasantha Kodagoda PC and Justice Arjuna Obeysekara made this order regarding a Writ Petition filed against the consignments of imported waste material currently being stored in the Colombo Port and Katunayake Free Trade Zone.

Meanwhile, the Court of Appeal yesterday directed the Government Analyst to provide an analytical report regarding the alleged consignment of containers carrying waste material, on next hearing date.

The Court ordered the Government Analyst to separately inspect these containers and compile an analytical report.

This petition had been filed by Centre for Environmental Justice and its Executive Director Hemantha Ranjith Sisira Kumara naming Central Environmental Authority, Director General of Customs, Hayleys Free Zone Limited (HFZ), Ceylon Metal Processing Corporation and Attorney General as respondents.

The Court of Appeal had observed that the legality or illegality of the consignment of containers would depend on the exact nature of the goods. The elements contained in the consignments have not been proved by the experts.

The petitioners are further seeking an order in the nature of Writ of Certiorari quashing the validity of all documents or permits granted by any authority to import waste in violation of the provisions of the National Environmental Act.

The Petitioners state that some importers have imported consignments of waste material which includes clinical waste, used Cushions and mattresses, plant parts, plastic waste and other uncategorized and hazardous waste into country from United Kingdom in the guise of importing permitted consignments with the intention of disposing such waste within the country, which may cause severe damage on the environment as well as cause severe threats to public health.

The Petitioners state that if any such consignments containing chemical waste are permitted to be buried in our soil or sent to open dumps, the underground water table and the surrounding environment will be severely affected thereby polluting and contaminating surrounding water bodies.

The Petitioners state that hazardous chemicals in the waste may also cause adverse health risks including Cancer and Kidney diseases when such waste is buried, disposed or exposed without adhering to the accepted methods for disposal of such waste.

The Petitioners also state that the local population will be exposed to severe health risks due to the pathogens in the clinical or other waste found in the imported waste.

This could also have negative impacts on the Biodiversity in the country.

The Petitioners further state that all such alleged imports of waste have been done without adhering to the terms of the BASEL Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal for which Sri Lanka is a signatory and had ratified the said convention in 1992.

The Petitioners further state that disposal of waste could be done only under a permit issued by the Central Environmental Authority under and in terms of the National Environmental Act No.47 of 1980 as amended.

Counsel Ravindranath Dabare with Nirmal Wickremasinghe appeared for the petitioner. Senior State Counsel Charuka Ekanayake appeared for the Attorney General.

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