CASE UPDATE- Case against Imported Waste Containers CA/Writ/303/19


This writ application was filed by CEJ on the 22nd July 2019 under the case no: CA/WRT/303/19 against the imported containers which contain clinical waste from the United Kingdom.  Consignment of waste material which includes clinical waste, used cushions and mattress, plant parts, plastic waste and other uncategorized and hazardous waste into the country from the United Kingdom with the intention of disposing waste within the country in the guise of importing permitted consignment of waste.

Several issues were raised in the petition including severe damage to environment, severe threats on the health of the general public of the country. Also, population will be exposed to several health risks due to the pathogens in the clinic or other waste found in the imported waste. This could also have negative impacts on the bio-diversity.

Further such alleged imports of waste have been done without adhering to the terms of the BASEL Convention. Specially, Sri Lanka doesn’t have facilities to manage such waste adhering to the international standards. Most important thing is this has violated the terms of National Environmental Act No.47 of 1980 and some articles of Constitution.

Therefore, CEJ requested to grant a writ of Mandamus to re-export these waste containers to United Kingdom and prosecute the official employees of the department of customs and Central Environment Authority under the section 289 of penal code. The decree was issued to ban exportation of clinical waste containers until finalizing the inspections. Though the Medical Research Institute and Government Analyst were directed to examine the said consignments they failed to comply with the Court orders. Central Environmental Authority has liaised with the focal point of the country of export (the United Kingdom) in regards to the repatriation of these consignments. Finally, the court issued an order so that parties have to enter into a formal agreement for sending the waste material back to its original country.(END)

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