Sri Lanka has declared garbage collection an “essential service” and said anyone violating the order can be arrested without a warrant, amid protests over the catastrophic collapse of a garbage mound that killed 33 people and buried dozens of homes. The order covers garbage disposal, garbage separation, transportation and storage. Any person contravening the order and disturbing any of the above activities will be liable for arrest without a warrant and can be punished under the law, officials said.
President Maithripala Sirisena on Thursday issued the order declaring garbage disposal by any authority of the Public Administration as an “essential service”. The gazette was issued after a portion of the 91-metre dump collapsed following a fire incident as the residents celebrated the traditional Sri Lankan New Year, burying dozens of residential buildings and killing 33 people in Meetotamulla area in Kolonnawa.
The order has come amid protests by the public who had been asking the government for months to relocate the mound. Protests were held on Thursday at two alternate garbage dumping sites. The police fired tear gas and water cannon at Dompe, north of here one of the sites.
Meanwhile, a Japanese government team of experts arrived on Thursday to investigate the site condition at Meethotamulla in order to prevent further disasters. The mission will seek future cooperation in the field of solid waste management.