- Ensures sustainability of Environmental Remediation Program
The European Union has further boosted its long lasting partnership with Ampara through ensuring the sustainability of the Environmental Remediation Program which now has come to an end.
With a total EU funding of 12.5 million euros, the first phase of the ERP initiative (10.4 million euros) implemented from 2006 to 2011 laid emphasis on three main components; solid waste management with a strong focus on infrastructural support, tree planting and improvement of urban storm water drainage. The second phase (2.1 million euros), finalised in 2013, focused on ensuring long term sustainability of the program through strengthening the capacities of the partner local authorities. This will allow them to manage the operational facilities and sustain Solid Waste Management systems on their own account.
Using innovative and simple technologies, the entire program was designed to contribute to a cleaner environment and improve the health of the population in the Tsunami affected areas of the Ampara District. Its main activities included efficient and cost effective systems to collect, transport and treat all solid waste generated in the district in an environmentally sound manner, the construction of landfill sites, a regional waste transfer station, five recycling centres and compost facilities.
The program has produced tangible results, as basic waste segregation has been implemented covering 17,000 households and six hospitals have installed waste segregation units at ward level. Regular waste collection is now functional while the water transfer station, also a direct result of the project, receives more than 62 tons of waste per day. Besides these results improving people’s health and quality of life, a main feature has been the establishment of successful business and marketing strategy for the sale of compost and recyclable materials produced by local authorities, thereby ensuring financial sustainability.
The initiative was implemented by UNOPS together with the active collaboration of 12 Local Authorities, Eastern Provincial Council, Ministry of Local Government and Provincial Council, Central Environmental Authority and National Solid Waste Management Support Centre.
Commenting on the project on the occasion of its closure, Ambassador David Daly said: “The OECD estimates, that by 2020 we could be generating 45% more waste than we did in 1995. This is a trend that absolutely needs to be reversed. The long-term goal for all societies should be to recycle and avoid waste in order to minimise the burden on precious natural resources. Proper waste management is a key element in ensuring resource efficiency and the sustainable growth of economies. I am very pleased with the outcomes of this project and to see that both the EU and the Government of the Sri Lanka alike consider environment to be top priority.”