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Waste transfer to commence in 2022 at Aruwakkalu waste disposal site

  • Only residual waste to be transferred
  • Environmental impact greatly reduced
  • Deodorisation process at Kelaniya transfer station and Aruwakkalu

By Sarah Hannan

Another garbage processing project that came under constant criticism by environmentalists as well as civil society, the Aruwakkalu waste disposal site is going full steam ahead, with the Government looking to complete its construction work by September 2021.

State Minister of Urban Development, Coast Conservation, Waste Disposal, and Public Sanitation Dr. Nalaka Godahewa, during a recent site visit, vowed that the construction work was to be expedited, and that 1,200 tonnes of garbage deposited per day would be processed at the site.

Garbage will be collected at the Kelaniya transfer station where the waste is to be processed into residual waste blocks and deodorised in the process, so that it is suitable to transport through the special garbage trains that will run directly from Kelaniya to the Aruwakkalu site.

When contacted by The Morning, Aruwakkalu Waste Management Project Environmental Specialist S. Uggallage said: “The collection of waste at the Kelaniya transfer station will commence only after the facility is fully constructed and the rail tracks are laid, meaning the project will properly commence in 2022.”

When asked about the importation of the rail carriages for the train, Uggallage noted that four locomotives had arrived from China and the rail carriages were still anticipated to arrive, further noting that due to the Covid-19 restrictions, there is a delay in bringing the carriages down to Sri Lanka.

According to the State Ministry, the two special trains that would be used to transport the waste will have 30 compartments each. One train will have the capacity of transporting 600 tonnes of garbage per trip.

By 2024, the project is predicted to generate natural gas via the waste-to-energy project which will eventually contribute to the national grid.

The sanitary landfill project is located on a 265-acre plot of land in Aruwakkalu. A separate section was set aside as a park, to create a protected area and an eco-friendly environment.

The construction is being carried out by China Harbour Ltd., and is overseen by the Central Engineering Consultancy Bureau (CECB) and a South Korean company.