Jan 13, Colombo: The Court of Appeal today instructed the Minister of Justice, the Secretary of the Justice Ministry and the Attorney General to conduct an investigation into the Government Analyst's notification that his Department has no facilities to check the containers of imported garbage from overseas and take appropriate measures.
The Court of Appeal bench, comprising President justice Yasantha Kodagoda and justice Arjuna Obeysekera, issued the order after hearing a petition filed by the Centre for Environmental Justice seeking a ban on the importation of garbage from abroad.
The Centre for Environmental Justice seeks a court order to prevent transporting the waste containers to other internal destinations other than for the purpose of re-export back to the UK.
When the petition was called in July 2019, the Court of Appeal had ordered the Government Analyst to conduct an immediate investigation and submit a report on the contents of the containers imported from the UK and stored in the Colombo and Katunayake Free Trade Zones.
In response, the Government Analyst had informed the court that he did not have the necessary facilities to check the garbage.
Judge Yasantha Kodagoda pointed out that such a response from a government agency committed to justice is a matter of great concern to the judiciary and ordered the Minister of Justice, the Secretary to the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney General to initiate an investigation into the matter.
The bench also directed the Registrar of the Court of Appeal to take steps to direct the certified copies of the relevant orders to the Justice Minister, Secretary to the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney General.
When the case was taken up today, Deputy Solicitor General Milinda Gunatilleke told the court that the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) had begun discussions on re-exporting the containers containing the garbage.
Accordingly, the Court of Appeal has ordered the petition to be taken up again on February 13 and the Deputy Solicitor General of the Government be called upon to report on the progress of the proceedings.
In May 2019, Sri Lanka Customs Department found 111 containers filled with putrid waste including used mattresses, carpets, plant parts and some clinical waste with suspected human remains in the Colombo harbor. Many of the containers are believed to have arrived from the UK as far back as 2017.