MWRP Sri Lanka: A Stronger Legal Framework for Tackling Ocean Plastic Pollution
The lack of proper disposal and collection of solid waste has become a critical issue in Sri Lanka.
The lack of proper disposal and collection of solid waste has become a critical issue in Sri Lanka. Poor solid waste practices contributed to the 2017 Meethotamulla landslide in the Colombo District. The disaster led to the collapse of a large garbage dump and resulted in 30 deaths, hundreds of injuries, and more than 145 buried homes. Public outcry from the incident has since pressured the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) to develop strategies and plans to improve solid waste management (SWM) practices and to reduce ocean plastic pollution.
The Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF) is taking a legal approach to support GoSL to improve the existing legal framework for SWM and ocean plastics. With USAID funding under the Municipal Waste Recycling Program, PILF is reviewing and supporting government considerations to change laws relevant to ocean plastic pollution, improving the enforcement of existing regulations, and raising legal awareness of national agencies and local authorities (LA).
A Review of Sri Lanka’s Legal Framework
An integral aspect of the project is the Law Review and Reform Report, which provides a review and assessment of the existing legal and regulatory framework on plastic use and waste management in Sri Lanka. The report will serve as a guide for government and private sector actors to develop new plastic waste reduction regulations and revise existing laws. PILF is working with national and local government stakeholders, including the Marine Environment Protection Authority and the Central Environmental Authority, to draft recommendations for legislative reform.
Enhancing the Knowledge of Local Authorities for Better Enforcement
PILF is increasing the legal awareness of national agencies and LAs on laws related to plastic waste and ocean plastic pollution by conducting awareness workshops for six LAs in the Western and Southern Provinces. . At these workshops LAs gain knowledge on local laws and by-laws, national laws, proposed law reforms, and law enforcement challenges. PILF is working with LAs to review how they use and apply the knowledge gained from the workshops in their day-to-day work.