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As long as humans have been living in settled communities, solid waste, or garbage, has been an
issue and modern societies generate far more solid waste than early humans ever did. Daily life
in industrialized nations can generate several pounds of solid waste per consumer, not only
directly in the home, but indirectly in factories that manufacture goods purchased by consumers.
Solid waste management is a system for handling all of this garbage and municipal waste
collection is solid waste management method practice in Sri Lanka.
However, Municipal Solid Waste is a growing problem in urban areas of Sri Lanka and this
problem is aggravated due to absence of proper solid waste management systems in the country.
At present in many instances solid waste are collected in mixed state and being dumped in
environmentally very sensitive places like road sides, marshy lands, low lying areas, public
places, forest and wild life areas, water courses etc. causing numerous negative environmental
impacts such as ground and surface water pollution, air pollution.
When it comes to Galle district in Southern province in Sri Lanka the situation is much more
alarming since the existing waste management system is not properly designed to fulfil the
This report is about the solid waste management system of the Pettigalawatta subdivision in
Galle district which is operated under the Galle Municipal Council.


The Galle municipal area has been divided into fourteen subdivisions and Pettigalawatta is one
of them. Pettigalawatta subdivision is situated very much close to the town area and because of
that the area includes not only households but also retail shops and some government offices as
There are four major roads namely Abdul Wahab road, Saranankara road, Wijayananda road and
old Matara road where a large portion of the waste collected are generated and some more sub
roads. Wastes are collected once per day from the four major roads and once in two days from
other areas.

Figure 1.1.1 Map of the area


Waste from the households in the area accounted only for about fifty percent of the total waste
collected and the remaining half is generated by the retail shops and the governments offices
situated in the region.
Out of fifty percent of households, fifty percent are Muslims and they generate a big amount of
waste. The status of living of those Muslims is very low and their waste management awareness
is zero. Two to three families are living in the same house and even the house is very small and
simply they have many other problems to get solved before paying their attention to a proper
waste management system. Also most the people are uneducated and are not aware about the
impacts of improper management of waste. There are only few houses doing the job correctly
and give their waste to collection vehicle. So as a whole the quality of living of people in the
area is very poor.
On the other hand the shops in the area are not in a good condition where they also dont have a
proper way of disposing their waste.


Food wastes and paper and cardboard are the two main components of the waste generated in the
area. Apart from that some amount of plastics, metal parts, glass, demolition waste and yard
waste are also generated.

Households generate a large amount of food waste and out of them most are parts of beef since
Muslims consume so much of meat. There are three restaurants in the area including hotel Shiva
which generate a larger amount of food waste. Shops in the area generate a big amount of paper
and cardboard and a small amount of plastics as well. In some days there are demolition waste
and yard waste but not in every day. Other than that there are some places which collect metal
parts and those centres generate a considerable amount of unwanted metal parts also.

Figure 1.1.3 - Types of waste generating in the area


Galle municipal council is responsible party for the waste management of the area and currently
according to the spokesmen of the council waste management is carried out by the municipal at a
low level in terms of effectiveness and efficiency.
However waste management cannot be done only by the municipal council and therefore the
commitment from the general public is a must. But the community level waste management in
the area is very poor.
Participation of the general public of the area in waste management system is very low and only
a very few families dispose their waste in the most environmentally friendly manner. All the
facilities have been provided to people including composting barrels to do the maximum
utilization of waste but people are not engaging in such activities. Even most of the people are
not send their waste to the collection vehicle.
The main reasons for the poor waste management in households are lack of education, less
awareness and no enough space in their houses. The pathetic situation is that the educated people
also do not pay their attention to this problem. For an example people who are living near the
Moda ala pump house dump their waste to the river while disturbing the operation of the pump

On the other hand instead of disposing their waste properly what people especially beggars in the
area do are, they try to find some kind of food for them from the waste while making the whole
area a mess. They pull out all the stuff inside the bags and pollute the area much more. Animals
such as dogs, goats and cows also do the same thing.

Figure2.1 (a) - people collecting things in

Though the ninety nine percent of the community hasnt any sense about waste management
there are some few people who manage their waste in a proper way. The credit must goes to
those people since they are doing a great job silently while trying take the others also in to the
correct track.
Mr.Zahil is one of them who collects solid waste and send them for recycling after sorting in his
home. He is a responsible resident living in Abdul Wahab road and he has established a
foundation called LAK POWER FOUNDATION where he has a lottery system called LAK
POWER PARISARA WASANA to collect solid waste from the general public. This system will
give financial benefits not only to him and people who are participation in the program but also
to the government by reducing cost for the waste management in the area. He is willing to do the
recycling also in his own in near future and apart from that he has established a students society
in the area to make children aware about the importance of solid waste management and to
implement solid waste management programs in the area.

Figure 2.1(b) - documents of the LAK POWER foundation


Municipal council level waste management system practicing in the area is a well organized
waste management procedure which has been designed after doing so many studies and surveys.
But yet it doesnt cater the requirement to its full content.
Waste collection, transportation, disposal and treatment are the steps included in the waste
management procedure. One supervisor has been assigned to take care of the waste management
of the particular subdivision with six labours.


Waste collection of the pettigalawatta subdivision is usually done as a night shift starting at about
5.00 pm and goes till about 9.00 pm. Only one tractor has been given for the collection
procedure and three to four tractor loads are collected per a day. The wastes from the four major
roads of the area are collected in every day and wastes from the other roads are collected once in
two days period. The labour force consists of two sweepers, two drainage system cleaners and
two persons for loading the waste including the tractor driver. But all the six are not present in
every day and these cause difficulties in waste collection.
There are specific locations along the road to dump waste from where the tractor gets loaded but
people are not following those schedules and instead what we saw is people have dumped waste
in places where information boards are placed saying not to dispose waste. So, waste collection
has been turned into a time consuming task. Also the wastes are mixed and not separated into
inorganic and organic and this also being done by the labours at the loading point or at the
disposal site.
On the other hand no sufficient equipments and facilities have been provided to labourers even
boots and gloves to carry out their work properly.

Figure 2.2.1 Collection vehicle


Information boards have been placed to make aware people about the proper
management of solid waste
There are information boards saying about where to put waste and where dont
which guides the general public towards a systematic way of disposing their

Figure 3.0 Information boards

The existing waste management system is functioning according to the schedules though
it has so many demerits.
Composting barrels have been given to general public to operate household level waste
management systems by producing compost.
Waste is being treated to some extent at the disposal site.
Some portion of the organic waste is composted and use as a fertilizer and paper
and cardboard are recycled.

Supervisor assigned to the area is very much active.

Some people try to implement successful waste management programs with the help of
the supervisor.



Collecting waste during night has no any use

The decision to collect waste in Pettigalawatta area as a night shift is merely an
idea given by the top management only as a implementation of a proposal given
by a foreign team and it has no any other definite purpose.
According to the supervisor if they are allowed to collect waste between 5.00 am
to 6.00 am in the early morning it would be much fruitful. On the other hand
collecting waste during night makes the road clean and clear at night and ugly and
unpleasant during day time which must be reversed.
On the other hand during the night its hard to collect waste with the help of the
light of the street lamps.

No separate places or specific locations such as barrels or baskets to dump waste

In this area there are only few specific locations where people used to pile up their
waste to collect by the collection vehicle by practice and in other areas people put
their waste as they wish in both sides of the road. This situation is a little bit
controlled when it comes to main roads as old Matara road but in other areas this
is the usual practice.
In urban council responsible persons point of view if they define specific
locations or put waste baskets it will increase the amount of waste to be collected
as people from other areas also try to dispose their waste here. But in general
publics point of view if there are baskets or some other mean to collect waste it
will solve this problem of waste to some extent.

Figure 4.0 (a) waste heaps beside the roads

No strict rules to govern the existing waste management system

In the existing system there are no strict rules to punish people if they get caught
while disposing their waste in an improper way. Also in this area there are lot of
illegal constructions such as small shops which generate a considerable amount of
waste and there are no strict rules to remove those constructions.
Another problem in this area is animals such as dogs, goats and cows try to
explore waste heaps in the sides of the roads which have been kept there to be
collected by the collection vehicle. There are no powerful laws to punish those
animal owners. As they said earlier there was a system to charge a penalty fee

from the animal owner if they get caught but unfortunately now that system is not
No proper maintenance of the drainage system in the area
The condition of the drainage system including the Moda ala pump house is very
poor and the existing number of labours allocated to that area is not enough to
clean the drainage system daily. Also the drainage lines have not yet reconstructed
after getting damaged by the tsunami.

Figure 4.0
Existing drainage
Less attention from the administration
to (b)
of the labourers
Labourers are not provided even with the basic requirements such as boots and

gloves to carry out their task properly and because of that labour ideling are high.
No proper systems to raise the awareness of the people about the waste management
procedure and to give them a kind of education about community level waste
management procedures.
No frequent inspections given by responsible parties like public health inspector to the
waste management systems practicing in the area, especially in community level.
No sufficient technologies to treat each and every type of waste generated.
Only the food waste and paper and cardboard are treated to a larger extent and no
sufficient technologies to treat or recycle other type of waste.
Effectiveness and efficiency of the existing system is very low.

Waste collection should be done during day time and must do source separation.
Awareness of the general public about waste management must be raised.
Face to face discussions with general public about their waste management
problems must be organised and seminars on environmental friendly and healthy
waste handling techniques should be organised. Also composting barrels and
knowledge on how to use them effectively must be given to the people. To get

maximum participation of general public the benefits they can get from
systematic waste management procedures must be highlighted in those programs.
Specific locations must be identified for the dumping of waste.
Two or three locations per a one major road or one location per for two to three
small roads can be introduced. Large waste collection barrels can be placed in
those places.
Much more authority must be assigned to the supervisor.
The power to handle labourers and advice and warn general public about their
waste management condition must be given. Also the freedom to handle labourers
and to grant them leave as possible must be given to the supervisor.
Legal policies must be strengthened to charge penalties to people who are not following
healthy waste management practices.
Drainage system must be reconstructed and maintained.
Required facilities such as gloves, boots and other tools must be provided as appropriate.
Assistance and encouragement must be given to people who are trying to implement
household level recycling procedures.
All the illegal constructions must be removed from the area.
Newest technologies must be introduced to treat waste.