Civil society organizations pointed out that the reason why the long festering issue of garbage in Colombo was unresolved was because the relevant authorities were not allowing a solution as they were involved in making money off garbage.

“The garbage issue is a cash cow”, declared Rohana Hettiarachchi, the executive director of People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections and Convenor of the March 12th Movement for Clean Politics.

There are allegations of corrupt deals involving financial transactions being made in many quarters by many of those responsible, according to Hettiarachchi.

“Although in the case of Colombo, the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development and the Urban Development Authority may also be involved in the cleaning of the City of Colombo and its environs and beautification, it is the local authorities that are entirely to be held responsible and in the case of Colombo, it is the Colombo Municipal Council that is the main authority,” said Hettiarachchi.

Meanwhile, the Waste Management Authority (Western Province) informed that they were aware that a lot of corruption was going on in relation to waste disposal.

Chairperson of the Authority, Ruwini Nadisha Dharmasiri further pointed out that it was quite difficult to fight against corruption while being in a Government office, adding that the journey thus far (she has been on the job for just over one and a half years now) had been extremely frustrating.  She added that the solutions which had been put forward with regard to the issue of garbage had not been gone through for a multitude of reasons.

“There are two sides to the coin. When a project is started, it is a public process, which can however be politically influenced. This mafia has to be broken through,” she noted.