Garbage and IDPs

31 Jan Garbage and IDPs

Wasanthakala was a field officer at a local organisation when she visited a village that was surrounded by rivers and green paddy fields. In this village lived people who were affected by Sri Lanka’s war. The government had resettled them here. However Wasanthakala had noted that the Urban Council uses the village to dump their garbage. There was garbage near the settlement, on the roads, in peoples’ lands and even the water was contaminated. When it rained the garbage would flow into people’s houses and diseases would spread. The people of the village would complain to Wasanthakala about this problem. Despite reporting this to her organisation, Wasanthakala was discouraged from taking action as they believed it would hinder their work. Wasanthakala decided to take action on her own by writing a letter to the government authorities about the issue. The people also protested against the issue. This was brought to light in the media.

There was opposition from Wasanthakala’s office and others. She would receive threats in person and over the phone. But she persisted. She continued to pressure the government to take action. She helped to produce fertilizer with the garbage and even trained the Urban Council employees. This led to the land and water facilities being restored in the village, while the pollution in the environment was also reduced.