Sri Lanka seeks waste management advice from Danish company

Philip Saville
June 12th, 2017

This article is more than 6 years old.

Denmark might not be well known for its winter sports, but one of its ski slopes is grabbing headlines and consultancy work all over the world

Mountain of garbage (photo: cogdogblog)

It’s a wonder what a ski slope will do.

The completion date of the winter sport-friendly combined heat and power waste-to-energy plant Amager Bakke has been stretched from 2017 to 2018, but give the media a few slalom ski poles and a smoke ring machine, and everyone’s purring about how Denmark is a world leader in waste management

READ MORE: Construction begins on skiable rubbish power plant

Searching for a solution
Sri Lanka has certainly been listening, as officials have enlisted Danish consultancy COWI  to provide solutions to the Indian Ocean island nation’s unsustainable waste practices in the western region of the country.

The South Asian country is one of several emerging nations in the region that seeks sustainable infrastructure in order to handle its waste efficiently and responsibly.

Regional investment
“Sri Lanka is located in the middle of the Indian Ocean, which in recent years has become the new epicentre for global growth,” stated a regional minister, Patali Champika Ranawaka, in a recent dialogue with Dansk Industri.

“At the same time, Sri Lanka is one of Asia’s most peaceful countries with well-developed democracy and investment-friendly legislation that provides easy access to the surrounding markets in China and India.”

Small stature, big problem
Sri Lanka is only slightly larger in size than Denmark, but has a far larger population – at 21 million, it is nearly four times the size. With a limited land area, its landfill disposal methods have been having a negative effect on the environment.

It is estimated that Colombo produces 1,200 tonnes of waste per day. Residents of its capital, and other major cities, often complain of polluted water and gas emissions due to the close proximity of landfill sites to urban areas.

Just two months ago, a landfill site collapsed into a residential neighbourhood, causing 26 fatalities.

Looking to the future
“Long-term thinking is needed,” explained COWI marketing director Carsten Skov to DI Business.

“We must establish a waste disposal site according to a modern model, find a suitable place that may be somewhat further away than people are used to, and create a system for collecting and transporting the waste there.”

One thing’s for sure. It’s unlikely the new waste management site will include a ski slope. Temperatures in the country regularly exceed 30 degrees.

READ MORE: Danish architect Kickstarting its way to world’s cleanest power plant generator


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