Just a few steps away from the dump, there was a
huge puddle filled with brown water. The Good Shed area is a
very popular commercial hub throbbing with food vendors: There
were fruit stalls, bakeries and the bus stand was directly
opposite the garbage dump. The Nation spoke to some vendors and
passengers in the area to find out how this garbage dump had
affected their lives
Lakna Paranamanna and Jayashika Padmasiri in Kandy
Kandy city is famous for many things. Just with the utterance of
the word ‘Kandy,’ the images of the sacred temple of the Tooth
Relic and the historic lake flash across the mind’s eye.
‘The ancient city of beauty’ is what connotes Kandy to many
people who enter this sacred city. However, contrary to this
statement, The Nation witnessed another side of the city during
a recent visit to the hill country.
In the middle of the city, in a bustling area next to a Buddha
statue and a Bo tree near the Good Shed bus stand, was a huge
reeking garbage dump.
Just a few steps away from the dump, there was a huge puddle
filled with brown water. The Good Shed area is a very popular
commercial hub throbbing with food vendors: There were fruit
stalls, bakeries and the bus stand was directly opposite the
garbage dump. The Nation spoke to some vendors and passengers in
the area to find out how this garbage dump had affected their
Wasantha Kumari, who has been working for seven months at a food
kiosk located just in front of this dumping site, said that the
menace had been there for a long time, escaping the proper
attention from the authorities.
“The authorities clean it, from time to time, although not
regularly. But now, since about two weeks, they have stopped
cleaning the dump. We cannot bear the smell, it stink so badly,”
She further said that during the rainy season, the situation
escalated and got worse as there was a big puddle in front of
the dump and the dirt got mixed with the water in the puddle.
“When the buses pass this place, the dirt gets entangled and
stuck on the wheels. The wheels carry it into the bus stand and
then even the road gets covered with mud and dirt,” said
Wasantha with a disgusted look on her face.
She pointed out that people were reluctant to buy goods from
their stalls as they felt disgusted to buy food from such a
place. “Flies and mosquitoes are breeding fast and many of us
have fallen sick many times because of this menace,” said
Just like Wasantha, the timekeeper at the bus stand, Gamini
Bulankulama, was another victim of this garbage crisis. He too
complained of the unbearable stench and the inconvenience the
garbage dump had created for them.
“This pile of garbage has been here for over four years now. We
have to stay here for a long time since it is the nature of our
job. But the problem is, we don’t even feel like having a cup of
tea or eating a bun to relieve our hunger, as the dirt makes it
disgusting to even think about getting something to eat or drink
from the vendors at the bus stand. Those same flies that rest on
the garbage come and sit on the food,” said Bulankulama.
He said that swarms of flies were bred because of this dirt and
on several occasions he contracted illnesses due to the
unhygienic conditions of the food. He also said that when they
consulted a doctor they had to specifically mention about the
place they work, otherwise it will be difficult for the doctor
to identify the illness.
“We complained about this inconvenience. But, the Municipal
Council said that they are unable to do anything since the
garbage management of this area is given to a private company,”
said Bulankulama. He also said that about four months ago,
several people claiming to be from the Municipal Council
collected Rs. 500 from each stall in the bus stand, promising to
clean the garbage dump. “But no such activity has taken place so
far and neither did those officials returned,” pointed out
Chandana Paranagama was a private bus driver. He frequented the
bus stand everyday and sometimes several times, during the
course of a day. He also complained of the same misery that the
others complained about.
“I have heard numerous passengers fussing and grumbling at the
sight of this place. They come here after a long, tiring
journey, expecting to get some refreshments from a kiosk or a
stall here,” said Paranagama. But he pointed out that not only
the passengers, even they entertained second thoughts about
consuming anything from any of the shops or stalls at the bus
He also pointed out that it was very disturbing to think that
the authorities had decided to intentionally dump garbage in
front of a sacred Bo tree. “I don’t know why the authorities
don’t take any action to solve this crisis, we just hope that
this garbage dump will be removed from here,” added Paranagama.
Another vendor at a sweetmeat shop, who wished to remain
anonymous, told The Nation that the merchants feared to make
further complaints to the Municipal Council knowing that the
officials would come and harass the merchants, if they continue
to grumble about this hazard.
Authorities blame the public
Despite continuous mumbles and grumbles from the people at the
bus stand about the garbage dump, Kandy Municipal Council (KMC)
Member Azwin Marikkar said that all those complaints were news
“I do admit the fact that there is a garbage problem in the
Kandy city. But, is it the Municipality that generates garbage?
It is the public! But, however much we are trying to solve this
problem, they do not cooperate with us,” charged Marikkar.
He said the city produced 120- 160 tonnes of garbage daily and
that they were trying to arrange a methodical way to deal with
this problem. He pointed out that most of the garbage that
people released from their houses could be dealt within the
house. “But the public never gives it a thought. They come and
dump the garbage wherever they want and then point their fingers
at the authorities claiming that it is our fault, once the
problem get worsened,” said Marikkar.
He said that strong laws must be introduced against the people
who do not manage their waste and added that the KMC was hoping
to look into the matter and arrive at a conclusion soon on how
to impose laws on the public. “To clap your hands, one needs a
pair of hands. So, likewise we can’t do this alone. Those who
dispose of garbage should cooperate with us to find a practical
and successful solution for this matter,” said Marikkar.
Meanwhile, another KMC Member Ilahi Abdeen accepted the fact
that there was a crisis of garbage prevailing at present, at the
bus stand and at Good Shed. “It isn’t just a problem for that
area, the whole city is facing this problem,” said Abdeen.
He said that the garbage collection couldn’t be carried out
methodically due to the heavy rains that made it impossible to
dump garbage at the dumping site at Guhagoda. He added that he
was hoping that the garbage collection would return to normalcy
soon. However, he assured that there was no breakdown in the
He also said that the public should be held responsible for this
situation, as they were at fault for dumping garbage where they
were not supposed to. “We advised them many times not to dump
garbage outside and to wait until the collector arrives. But
they never go by the requests made by us,” said Abdeen.
“We have handed over only one fifth of the garbage collection of
the city to a private company. And even they are dumping their
collection at the Guhagoda site. The collection must have got
delayed as they also must be facing the same problem that we are
facing,” said Abdeen.
He added that they had already started a work plan to deal with
the waste collected within the city and 25% of it was already
over and that they were hoping to implement laws to deal with
this problem methodically.
Whatever said and done, or who keeps on blaming whom for the
prevailing crisis, the fact remains that there is a huge garbage
heap existing in the middle of the Kandy city creating immense
difficulties for the public who have to deal with it daily.