June 13, Colombo: After the collapse of a solid waste dump in a suburb of capital Colombo, Sri Lanka has enlisted a leading Danish consulting group COWI to provide solutions to the island's unsustainable waste practices in the western region.
The Copenhagen Post reports that Sri Lanka is one of several emerging nations in the region that seeks sustainable infrastructure in order to handle its waste efficiently and responsibly.
"Sri Lanka is located in the middle of the Indian Ocean, which in recent years has become the new epicentre for global growth," Minister of Megapolis and Western Development Patali Champika Ranawaka has said in a recent dialogue with Dansk Industri.
"At the same time, Sri Lanka is one of Asia's most peaceful countries with well-developed democracy and investment-friendly legislation that provides easy access to the surrounding markets in China and India."
Sri Lanka has a limited land area and its landfill disposal methods have been having a negative effect on the environment.
It is estimated that Colombo produces 1,200 tonnes of waste per day. Residents of Colombo, and other major cities, often complain of polluted water and gas emissions due to the close proximity of landfill sites to urban areas.
In April, a landfill site in a suburb of Colombo collapsed into a residential neighborhood, causing 26 fatalities and burying dozens of homes.
"Long-term thinking is needed," explained COWI marketing director Carsten Skov to DI Business.
"We must establish a waste disposal site according to a modern model, find a suitable place that may be somewhat further away than people are used to, and create a system for collecting and transporting the waste there."
COWI already has projects in Sri Lanka and was the consultant on a project funded by the World Bank, which had as one of its objectives to reduce flooding in the Colombo city area by assessing conceptual designs of water infrastructure along the city's water bodies.