The Sunday Leader

Garbage Disposal To Be Taxed

By Indika Sri Aravinda

While many countries have devised proper waste management methods for the disposal of garbage, consecutive governments in Sri Lanka have yet not come up with a proper waste disposal plan.

Some countries have even found methods of utilizing this waste material to generate power. However it is unfortunate that Sri Lanka has yet not taken into consideration these methods. The primary focus of this country seems to be to formulate new regulations and prepare the documentation to impose fines.

One of the first establishments to impose charges on businesses for the disposal of waste was the Kandy Municipal Council. Currently Colombo, Sri Jayawardhanapura, Kotte, Dehiwela-Mount Lavinia and Kaduwela municipal councils have taken measures to impose charges for the disposal of garbage.

They plan on imposing charges on business establishments, while domestic premises will subsequently have to pay the relevant municipal councils to dispose of their garbage.
According to an officer of the Western Provincial Council, payment for the disposal of garbage from business establishments will be implemented in accordance with a 2008 urban waste convention. Payment will be charged by the powers vested upon the provincial councils, according to section X, paragraphs 19 and 20, of the sub constitution and section XI.

Accordingly the Sri Jayawardenapura Municipal Council charges business establishments a monthly sum of between Rs 200 to Rs 5000. However no charges will be levied on religious establishments, government hospitals and government institutions.

Meanwhile the Dehiwela-Mount Lavinia Municipal Council charges businesses between Rs 1450 to Rs 4000, while domestic establishments will be charged between Rs 1600 to Rs 3100 per ton of waste or less. The Kaduwela MC charges between Rs 3000 to Rs 4500 from business establishments. Accordingly all MC’s will consider charging for the disposal of waste in the near future. However while residents of several areas have protested in disapproval of these irregular charges, it has proved futile.

Responding to a query made by The Sunday Leader in this regard, the Mayor of the Kotte MC Janaka Ranawaka said that it costs the MC Rs 1.5 million per month for the disposal of garbage, and since the Kotte MC is unable to cope with this expenditure, this sum of money is being imposed on business establishments only, in a bid to recover the expenses.

He added that this charge will not be recovered from low income sectors or those employed in self employment, while measures will also be taken to exempt the domestic sector from these charges as well.

Although certain members of the Sri Jayawardenapura MC had opposed these charges, the majority of them had approved this levy. Ranawaka further pointed out that while many MC’s had delegated the removal of garbage to private companies, they have to spend a colossal sum of money for this purpose, which was a hindrance to the development of the urban areas.

If the garbage is disposed of in a methodical manner, many of the MC’s will be able to dispose of the garbage for sums of between Rs 100 to Rs 5000. However, according to officials of the CMC, due to the unavailability of land within the city limits for the disposal of garbage, the CMC is compelled to lease land in other areas for the disposal of garbage.

It is believed that this garbage issue has escalated to huge proportions due to the lack of technical knowledge on the part of the officials.

It is however ironic that even though these councilors have engaged in many overseas trips, they have made no attempt to find solutions to the garbage issue in Sri Lanka by exploring the measures taken by those countries.

While the general public is unaware of the financial burden placed on them by way of taxes at present, if the allocations made in the annual budget are taken into consideration, a rough estimation could be made.

Some industrialised countries pay the public for their garbage and measures are taken to make maximum use of their garbage.

However our country is unfortunate in that sense as there have been instances where even schools had to be closed down due to garbage disposal issues. Due to this factor, plans are underway to hand the waste disposal management to overseas firms, and we will be paying attention to the manner in which waste management measures will be handled in the future.

2 Comments for “Garbage Disposal To Be Taxed”

  1. Donald Peter Perera

    What about the dog tax and the urinating tax ?

  2. Pushpakumara

    Machang Donald – 1st garbage then sex tax after that what you want will happen. Wait until Mervin’s assets matter is over then tax will be implemented for us and not for Pissu Mervyn and his loose putha.

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