A visitor to the city of Colombo could be under the impression that Sri Lanka is a clean country going by the way the Colombo Municipal Council maintains the commercial capital.
But one has only got to go into the suburbs just a few kilometres away, for instance, travel along the Galle road from Wellawatte to Moratuwa and the rotting garbage that is scattered on the pavements and in the adjoining drains is an appalling picture. Drains are clogged and the water stagnant providing ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
Garbage, polythene bags, betel (bulath) spit, sticks, stones, bones, bottles, cans, bags, papers, shoes and the list can go on and on. Add to this is the stray dog menace that litters the pavements with defecation and urine posing a direct health hazard.
The situation is worse than ever and if there is a government in place what on earth are the Ministers in charge of health and environment doing. What on earth is this so-called the Environment Police doing?
There is also the annual hypocrisy that takes place when we see the head of state along with some boys and girls sporting T-shirts and caps rounding up all the garbage along the beach, all for the cameras and come the following day it’s back to the garbage rot.
We have been told about this so-called Mega City to be constructed stretching from Aluthgama in the South to Chilaw in the North covering some 100 miles and we are now left to wonder whether this is all a pipe dream. Nothing will materialize or come to pass with Sri Lankans whose record in sanitary and cleanliness has always been appalling.
I do not hold a brief for any politician or political party but I must admit here that was a semblance of public cleanliness under the previous government and the situation has now being reversed by those who are running the country today.
People who scream from their rooftops about patriotism are the worse environmental offenders. Today, scattering of garbage on the streets is all about convenience to get rid of polythene bags and other rubbish while travelling by bus or train.
Unless those who have been entrusted with running this country implement stringent laws to bring to book people who degrade the environment and cause public health hazards, the unhealthy state of affairs outside the city of Colombo will continue to mount with all this talk of a mega city and development to fall in line with other countries. Is this the way Sri Lanka is showcased to the world for tourism.
SMJK Fernando Moratuwa