Global Partnership on Waste Management

Sri Lanka

Submitted by National Cleaner Production Centre

(Note: The National Cleaner Production Centre provided a narrative response)

Summary of information
Highest priority waste streams
Highest priority areas of capacity building
Narrative summary
Sri Lanka (National Cleaner Production Centre)’s responses to the needs assessment survey show that waste management needs to be improved mainly at the local level. Nationally, waste management policies exist, while international cooperation has successfully implemented projects, notably the Pilisaru Programme. In local communities and governments, however, public and political interest for waste management needs to be built, and specific plans should be made. The country should develop a paradigm shift from waste management to resource management to encourage the participation of the private sector; businesses are in a better position to provide technical capacity in this area.

Overview of waste management
The responses suggest that at the national level, Sri Lanka is well equipped for waste management activities. A National Solid Waste Management Policy and a National Solid Waste Management Strategy (among other initiatives) guide waste management in the country. Legislation, such as the ban on plastic film production less than 20 microns thick, targets different stages of the life cycle of products. Different institutional bodies are responsible for different waste streams; the Central Environmental Authority, for example, enforces regulations concerning municipal solid waste (MSW). The country cooperates with various international and foreign organizations, such as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), to strengthen its waste management capacity and implement projects. The Pilisaru Programme, a joint project with the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) aimed at improving organic waste management in local communities across Sri Lanka, is a notable outcome. The private sector is also involved in waste management, especially in the hazardous, electronic, and plastic waste streams.

The implementation of national plans at the local level, however, is identified as a target for improvement. A sizeable amount of MSW collected is bio-degradable and can be treated as organic waste, while waste plastics are also not always segregated. Support from the public as well as the political will of local governments must be strengthened. Separate local-level plans should be developed, and include campaigns to educate communities (especially schoolchildren) on the benefits of waste management. As much as possible, these plans and initiatives should be linked with existing projects, such as Pilisaru, to facilitate institutional coordination.

Sri Lanka’s technical capacity for waste management should also be improved. Currently, facilities for composting, recycling, incineration (of healthcare waste), and landfills exist. However, the country still requires more incinerators, while sanitary landfills do not exist. The increased involvement of the private sector at local level needs to be encouraged, in particular by highlighting the economic and resource potential of waste currently neglected. Businesses with good waste management records should be rewarded and recognized. With greater participation, the private sector would be able to improve the technical capacity of the country for waste management, including procuring equipment and constructing facilities.