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* Environmental Authority of Sri Lanka clears rubber factory said to have caused water pollution
Wed, Mar 19, 2014, 12:21 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 19, Colombo: The Central Environmental Authority (CEA) of Sri Lanka has determined that the effluents of the rubber factory said to have caused water pollution did not contaminate the water.

The CEA has said that the Hanwella Rubber Products Ltd. Factory is not contaminating the water and polluting the environment as the villagers have charged.

The villagers in Thunnane, Padukka have charged that the effluents, discharged from the factory, were the cause for the acidity in the well water in the area.

However, the tests conducted by the Central Environmental Authority, have not supported the villagers' claim.

The villagers have claimed that the pH value of the water in the vicinity of the factory and area was low and there is a fairly high presence of coliform bacteria in the water.

The CEA has said that the laboratory tests conducted on the area water found no evidence to hold the factory was at fault and the authority has determined that the factory has been discharging its effluents properly to the environment.

"We checked, investigated and found that the Hanwella Rubber Products Ltd. Factory wasn't contributing to this," local media said quoting a CEA official.

The Authority has however, said that if they found evidence to support the villager's claim, the authority will not hesitate to take legal action against the Factory.

The CEA has said that the factory had an Environmental Protection License since 2001and it has been operating according to the law.

Director General of the CEA Dr. Saranga Alahapperuma has told the media that the authority, along with the Board of Investment, Deputy Minister of Investment Promotion Faizer Mustapha, the District Secretariat and the police had briefed the people on the CEA finding but the residents are still demanding the authorities to move the factory.

A protest held by the villagers demanding the removal of the factory on Sunday turned violent when a tree felled by the protesters to block the main highway, High Level Road, fell on a police inspector injuring him fatally.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa said yesterday that certain elements are trying to create problems in the country by closing down factories that have been in existence in the country for over 100 years.

A similar protest launched by the residents of Rathupaswala in Gampaha district demanding to close a rubber glove factory led to the deaths of three youth when the army called to quell the protest fired at the crowd killing the three people.

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