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DateLine Sunday, 6 April 2008





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

War on Waste

There was a great scurry of activity, at my place, as hoards of accumulated plastic bags, glass bottles and other such junk were sorted and prepared to be loaded on to a garbage truck of the municipal council, that was assured to pass our way.

Money was already being collected for a neighbourhood scale distribution of compost recycling bins. ‘Garbage’ is a subject much talked about, at a time when all are conserned about being eco-friendly.

M. Rizvi Majeed, Project Director of the National Post Consumer Plastic Waste Management Project, Central Environmental Authority, told the Sunday Observer that most people are becoming more interested and inquisitive about garbage segregation.

In an attempt to instill the habit of garbage segregation in the public, the project has distributed separate garbage bags for different types of waste such as plastic and glass, via the local authorities in some areas of the Western Province, since its inception last July. They are now in the process of implementing the project in the Southern and Central Province.

A large scale waste segregation awareness programme is now under way. With the collaboration of welfare societies, the project office plans to distribute garbage bins to government flats in the jurisdiction of the Colombo Municipal Council, where the space constraints discourage the use of segregation bags within the apartments. The waste collected are then sent to the collectors by the welfare societies.

“This is a win win situation where the welfare societies can earn an extra income through the revenue obtained from providing the collected garbage to recycling companies.

Rizvi Majeed says that judging by the monthly reports provided by the collectors, there is a 36% increase in the waste collected, since last July. Garbage segregation bags and bins have also been made available at Adam’s Peak and Nuwara Eliya during the season and the Project Director claims that they have been faring quite well.

But the best eco-friendly bag is the Pan malla of the old days, some people of the rural areas still use, but is rapidly disappearing. Fortunately for the environment a substitute is now in the market - or shall I say the supermarket - smartly hanging off the hooks in supermarkets such as Arpico, Cargills and Keels.

G. D. Kadigamuwa, the Assistant Manager of Cargills Food City Maharagama told the Sunday Observer that he has been using the new Cargills Eco-friendly bag at his home for over four months. It can support up to 5 kg max, but the best thing about the bag is probably that it is washable. G. D. Kadigamuwa claims that during promotions the number of eco-bag purchases increases.

Can we win the battle with garbage?

The whole purpose of the bag is to minimize the demand for polythene bags.

But some people are reluctant to use the bag right out of the hooks and requests for polythene bags because they do not want to spoil the eco-friendly bags. “But there are regular customers who return, with the eco-friendly bags, for shopping.”

Although the polythene bags that are currently in use in his supermarket is biodegradable, G. D. Kadigamuwa says that it’s a long slow process and even degradable polythene has some sort of effect on the environment. “And it’s comparatively less sturdy.”

Thomas Dinesh, Marketing Executive of Arpico told the Sunday Observer that their bags, made of polypropylene, can be used up to four months. He also said that the demand for normal polythene bags have comparatively dropped since the introduction of the eco-friendly bag. Ajith Fernando, Executive, Keells Super, Liberty Plaza says that they have 44 Keells Super outlets for their eco-friendly bags, that are made of a cotton-polyester mix.

“We sell over three hundred eco-friendly bags in the Liberty Plaza Keells Super alone.” Although he said that they have not encountered many problems concerning the eco-friendly bags, he admitted that some customers still resort to polythene bags for the sake of ease.

The promised garbage truck and compost recycle bins are yet to arrive at our doorstep, but in the mean time we can do what is in our power to be eco-friendly ourselves - reuse and recycle as much as possible as often as possible.


Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service
Ceylinco Banyan Villas

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