Aug 13, Colombo: The Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development says that the Aruwakkalu solid waste management has been set up to facilitate the disposal of 600 metric tons of garbage daily in an environmentally friendly and hygienic manner.
The Aruwakkalu Waste Management Project was launched following the collapse of the Meethotamulla disposal site in 2017 as a sustainable and scientific solution to the solid waste disposal problem that has plagued many local government authorities in the country for years.
The entire project costing Rs. 23 billion is scheduled to be completed by March 31 next year.
Nihal Rupasinghe, Secretary to the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development speaking at a media briefing held at the Ministry today said the Aruwakkalu waste management facility constructed with cutting edge technology meets all the scientific standards including safety measures.
He further stated that the facility will be completed with all necessary environmental and other facilities by March 2020 enabling to dispose 1200 MT of garbage daily and transport the waste by train to the site.
Sociologist Nimal Premathilaka, who is in charge of the Aruwakkalu project, said the first phase of the Aruwakkalu sanitary landfill is now completed. Accordingly, the staff is ready to accept the environmentally and hygienically safe garbage brought to the site from the local government bodies in Colombo City and Gampaha district.
"The government has spent Rs. 23 billion for this purpose. This is the largest scientific waste disposal facility built in our country. Minister Patali was instrumental in this project. We need to use this facility at least for 30 years. Depending on the total capacity of the facility, 1200 metric tons can be disposed per day. The project is extended over 2 square kilometers. Even now, 600 metric tonnes of garbage can be dumped per day. We also accept the left over garbage from the composting companies in the North Western Province"
The official said the site is ready to accept properly sorted waste from Colombo city and the the best solution is for the Colombo city officials to discuss with the local authorities to iron out the issues and bring the solid waste to the area in a hygienically safe manner.
The solid waste is transported to the Aruwakkalu area of Puttalam in the North Western Province through the Kelaniya Transfer Station (KTS). The waste subjected to high pressure at the KTS is transported by train to Aruwakkalu site, which is located about 41 km from the Puttalam Town and will have a distance of nearly 160 km by rail from KTS.
The construction of the facility is carried out using all environmental protection procedures including waste treatment system and landfill gas treatment system. Garbage disposal is carried out without any damage to the surface or groundwater system.
Solid Waste Management Director Ms. Saroja Jayasekara said a systematic study in all aspects has been done before undertaking the project to set up the waste management plant.
"We have undertaken a systematic study of the environment, studied all the environmental aspects, analyzed them, carried out the environmental assessment process and approved the project with recommendations and guidelines."
Tenders have been awarded for the purchase of 4 locomotives, 34 wagons and 94 container cars. Plans to improve the railway track from Kelaniya to Aruvakkalu have also been finalized.
As a preliminary step before the entire project is completed, facilities have been provided to dispose the garbage being collected daily in the city of Colombo.
Ministry Secretary Rupasinghe said the facility will not charge any train transport expenses and the government will bear the cost of transport until March next year. To maintain the facility after March 2020, the cabinet has appointed a committee to decide on how to charge for the expenses.
The project will provide a permanent solution to a major problem of garbage disposal in the country for the next 80 years, the Ministry Secretary said.