Welcome to Colombo: Hold your nose! This is an ideal welcome note that the CMC should have prominently displayed at the entry points to the city, which is more often than not waist-deep in rotting garbage. The fetor is unbearable! There have been numerous public complaints but there seems to be solution in sight.
Presidential Advisor and Colombo Municipal Councillor Vasudeva Nanayakkara, has told a weekend newspaper the CMC must be held responsible for the mess. It is not only the city stepfathers who should take the blame for this stinking state of affairs. The blame for it must also be laid at the doorstep of the government as well as the UNP. When the UNP`s nominations were rejected on technical grounds at the last election to the CMC, some party bigwigs in a bid to remote-control the premier council through a puppet mayor supported an independent group and helped a bunch of misfits catapult themselves to the topmost positions. The government, true to form, caused the Mayor and his men so elected switch allegiance. Later, the CMC was brought under a special commissioner. And we find ourselves holding our noses! It is not being argued the CMC had been efficient earlier it has only gone from bad to worse. Thus, it may be seen that Colombo`s rank smell is also due to dirty politics. The CMC has itself become a garbage dump!
Shifting problems instead of solving them is a national trait of ours. Most citizens are in the habit of dumping their garbage in public places away from their sweet homes. `To hell with our country, my home is clean` seems to be their motto. The CMC as well as its lesser counterparts elsewhere have been doing likewise all these years. They have been transporting their garbage to other areas which have become inhabitable owing to pollution. The Bloemandhal Garbage Mount is a monument to their callous disregard for environment and the public wellbeing.
What is needed is not haphazard garbage disposal as such, which is a nuisance but waste management which is a boon. It is a matter for happiness that small local government bodies like the Bandaragama Pradeshiya Sabha have found an effective way out. They are recycling waste successfully. Why cannot the CMC, the richest of all municipalities, take a leaf out of the Bandaragama PS?
Ironically, the government is struggling to prevent dengue and attract tourists while garbage is piling up in the capital city causing it to stink to high heaven. What greets foreigners who enter the city along the Negombo Road is the Bloemandhal Garbage Mount, which is also home to mosquitoes of all sorts.
It is incumbent upon the government to jolt the CMC and environmental authorities into cleaning up the stinking mess. And the irate ratepayers must not take it all lying down. They have every right to demand that the CMC keep the city clean by removing garbage on a regular basis. In the alternative, they should seriously consider bringing their garbage in procession to the Town Hall and dumping it near the entrance to the CMC. That is the only language callous politicians and their impotent bureaucratic lackeys understand. It is hoped that Vasu, the firebrand, will lead that protest march.