News

Heavy metals in imported fertiliser: Government denies allegations on fertiliser quality

  • Allegations of rejected shipment being redirected to SL

By Skandha Gunasekara

The Government last week denied reports that they had failed to conduct heavy metal testing on a stock of fertiliser that was imported recently.

Department of Agriculture Director General Dr. Ajantha De Silva told The Sunday Morning that all the necessary tests were carried out.

“The fertiliser was brought down according to the proper SLS (Sri Lanka Standards) standards. Under those standards, it is imperative that heavy metal tests are conducted,” Dr. De Silva stressed.

He also refuted claims that the imported potassium chloride fertiliser was a harmful chemical.

“These are natural minerals. They are of natural origins. If you go by science, everything is chemical, including the water we drink. But these are not harmful, as it is a natural mineral,” Dr. De Silva claimed.

A consignment of 20,000 metric tonnes (MT) of potassium chloride arrived in the country last Thursday (14) to be provided to farmers for the Maha season. The stock was imported from Lithuania.

Meanwhile, Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ) Executive Director Hemantha Withanage, on Friday (15), filed a case at the magistrate’s court against the importation of harmful compost fertiliser.

“We filed the case to prevent the importation of any harmful fertiliser after the Government attempted to bring down substandard compost from China,” Withanage said.

He charged that while it had been reported that the ship transporting the compost had been turned back, it had once again changed direction mid-sea.

“We have been informed that the ship with the harmful compost is once again on its way to Sri Lanka. It is allegedly in the seas near the Philippines. We hope to uncover more details in the coming days,” Withanage told The Sunday Morning.