Dali Hazardous Waste Leak

Dali Hazardous Waste Leak

Leader of the opposition Sajith Premadasa speaking in Parliament sad that reports on the Singaporean vessel caring Hazardous waste need to be investigated by the Ministry of environment.

Hazardous materials have leaked into the Patapsco River after a container ship collided with the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore on Tuesday.

A total of 56 containers onboard the Dali were carrying 764 tons of hazardous materials, including corrosives, flammables and lithium-ion batteries, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

Former Sri Lankan Ambassador to the World Trade Organization (WTO), Gomi Senadhira, emphasized that the Singaporean cargo vessel ‘Dali’, chartered by Maersk, would not have carried containers containing hazardous materials destined for unloading in Colombo without specific approval from the relevant authorities in Sri Lanka. Senadhira urged the government to promptly identify those responsible for authorizing such shipments and suggested seeking assistance from the United States to investigate the matter further. He raised concerns about the frequency of such shipments reaching Colombo and highlighted the need for thorough investigation.

Senadhira, known for his adherence to protocol, pointed out the apparent lack of clearance from the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) for the containers and raised suspicions about possible exploitation of procedures by individuals with authority, possibly linked to Board of Investment (BoI) processes.

Customs Director Seevali Arukgoda explained the challenges in identifying cargo contents, emphasizing that until cargo manifests are filed, authorities have limited information. He noted that containers rarely declare contents as “toxic waste.”

Reflecting on his diplomatic tenure, Senadhira recalled a similar incident involving hazardous waste from the UK and expressed concern about potential collusion between relevant authorities and those shipping hazardous waste to Sri Lanka.

Senadhira commended the Opposition’s efforts to raise the issue in Parliament and called for robust scrutiny and accountability. He denounced the incident as a grave crime against the nation and urged political parties to unite on national issues.

While acknowledging the tragedy of the Baltimore accident, Senadhira viewed it as a fortunate revelation of a serious crime targeting Sri Lanka. He emphasized the importance of addressing the matter decisively and preventing such exploitation in the future

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