The Sunday Leader

Castle Street Hospital Accused Of Burning Waste

by Ashanthi Warunasuriya

Isuru Devapriya also in the picture

The Castle Street Hospital for Women has been accused of burning hospital waste, posing a threat to the environment and area residents.

Some area residents told The Sunday Leader that the hospital has been burning waste in the back garden of the hospital over a period of time. The burning of waste posed a threat to residents along Model Farm Road which is located behind the Castle Street Hospital for Women. One resident, Rosanna Flamer-Caldera told The Sunday Leader that the matter was raised with the hospital authorities and the government. “For the past several years the Castle Street Hospital has been burning hospital waste intermittently, along the wall that borders their property from ours. I have complained by telephone many, many times to no avail. Recently, in April 2017, they began burning every single day. When I telephoned them they said it was because the CMC was not picking up their waste. I filed a complaint with the Director of the Castle Street Hospital and copied it to the Central Environment Authority, the Minister of Mahaweli Development and Environment, The President of Sri Lanka H.E. Maithripala Sirisena and the Minister of Health & Indigenous Medicine Dr. Rajitha Senarathne. All of them replied with copies of letters sent to the Castle Street Hospital to stop burning their waste lest they face legal consequences,” Flamer-Caldera said.

However Flamer-Caldera said that despite the letters, the hospital continued to burn waste till last week.

“Apparently, these letters and directions given by the ministries and from the Secretary of the President himself, holds no sway with the hospital as they continued to burn hospital waste, polluting the neighbourhood and endangering my family. They have been burning waste, despite the directives almost every day this month, even burning at night and sometimes for 2 to 3 days at a stretch,” Flamer-Caldera said. However, when contacted, the Deputy Director of the hospital, Nalin Premadasa denied claims that hospital waste was being burnt outside the hospital.

He said that there is a process to follow when disposing hospital waste and that process is being closely followed.

Premadasa said that only dirt is burnt outside the hospital and that too in a manner which does not inconvenience the neighbours.

He said that a complaint was received that hospital waste was being burnt outside the hospital and as soon as the complaint as received the matter was looked into.   Premadasa said that Health Ministry officers had also inspected the hospital garden and found that waste was not being burnt in the vicinity.

Meanwhile Rosanna Flamer-Caldera said that the Castle Street Hospital for Women had sent a letter apologising for the burning of hospital waste in the garden. Western Province Chief Minister Isura Devapriya told The Sunday Leader that it is illegal to burn hospital waste in the open air.

He said that inquiries will be launched to verify the claims by area residents and if true, appropriate action will be taken.

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