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The National Platform - Integrated Sustainable Waste Management - Sri Lanka is a collective effort for adopting integrated, economically feasible and environmentally sound sustainable waste management practices in Sri Lanka. It intends to integrate efforts from government institutions, private sector firms and civil society organizations.
 
 
Intergrated Sustainable Waste Management National Forum - Sri Lanka
   About Us  
 
 
The National Platform - Integrated Sustainable Waste Management - Sri Lanka is a collective effort for adopting integrated, economically feasible and environmentally sound sustainable waste management practices in Sri Lanka. It intends to integrate efforts from government institutions, private sector firms and civil society organizations.
   Background
 
Platforms usually require an initiator. In the case of the platform in Si Lanka the catalyst was the largest natural disaster in living memory, the Tsunami. It hit Sri Lanka on the 26th December 2004 and caused massive devastation in the coastal belt. About 30,000 people died, many towns were destroyed, drinking water sources contaminated and means of existence were washed away.
 
Though the national and international community offered generous assistance, some aspects were notoriously difficult to deal with. The already overstretched solid waste management systems virtually collapsed and Tsunami related waste was disposed indiscriminately. Coastal zone dumping practices, poor urban environment planning, substandard water management and sanitation practices and a general waste of resources were frequently observed.
 
The absence of collaboration and cooperation in waste management also showed to many the enormous waste of resources resulting from duplicating efforts. This was hitherto hidden from view as many solid waste projects were operated in isolation. At the same time, the aftermath of the Tsunami inspired a confidence in people, organizations and institutions that together they can make things better.
 
This process of increased information sharing can be initiated by a few persons or a project. In this case the CORDAID financed project “Rapid implementation of community based short- and middle-term measures to improve the functioning of solid waste management in Tsunami affected areas of Ampara and Hambantota Districts” has been the initiator.
 
The first meeting of the “national platform on waste management” was convened in Colombo in April 2006 drawing participants from central and local government, community organizations and (international) non-governmental organizations. Participants reflected on the need for a platform where lessons from the various activities and organizations could be shared. Eventually this will also improve the planning process. This was reiterated during the second national platform meeting (November 2006) with a string request for formalisation of the platform. This was taken up during the third platform meeting (November 2007).
   Objectives:
 
Waste management done by local governments often leads to open dumping. As there are serious environment and social issues arising, government agencies and authorities, NGOs, INGOs and CBOs are interested in waste management. Many of these do a fantastic job in solid waste management. Yet we do experience the following issues:
 
  • Many of the organisations involved in waste management have learned it the hard way. As many efforts taken earlier failed, rectifications in approaches and processes were taken. These extreme valuable practical lessons are usually not documented. Thus it is more likely than not that others in the field will make the same mistakes.
  • It is a normal professional tendency to report on successes only and not on failures. And yet we learn as a child that it is from mistakes that we can learn most. Certainly this applies to the field of solid waste too.
  • Notwithstanding the above there is also a need to share the successful examples. It may not be possible to directly copy the successful cases in a new local authority area, but certain aspects and elements certainly should be studied.
 
Thus the objectives of the platform are:
 
  • To share the experiences of ongoing projects related to waste management, so as to avoid replication of projects by other organisations and the waste of resource.
  • Several organizations are willing to participate for waste management but there is a lack of a proper integrated waste management plan. It emphasizes the need for a good platform which integrates waste related activities.
  • Good practices, lessons learned and knowledge gain from the experience should share with others.
 
So the National Platform will create the opportunity for a common discussion.
 
 
 
 
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