The Catholic Bishop’s Conference of Sri Lanka (CBCSL) gave its green light and officially committed itself for the Caritas Sri Lanka – SEDEC led community level awareness campaign on the Solid Waste Management Programme.

The official launch was held at the ‘Lankarama’ Balcombe Place on the 23rd August 2017 amidst a large gathering of Bishops, religious leaders, and other invitees. His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, Archbishop of Colombo, Rt. Rev. Dr. Winston Fernando, President of the CBCSL,  Rt. Rev. Dr. Joseph Vianney Fernando, Bishop Chairman of the Catholic National Commission of Justice, Peace and Human Development, Mr. Jayavilal Fernando, Project Director, Solid Waste Management Project, Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development, Mr. Anuradha Wijeyawardana, Community Development Officer were few of the distinguished guests who graced the occasion. In addition, Bishops representing each Diocese of Sri Lanka took part in the ceremony.

Commencing the Launch, his Lordship Rt. Rev. Dr. Vianney Fernando went back in memory to the tragedy at Meethotamulla garbage dump and reiterated how the Church should take leadership and intervene in solving national issues and commended the timely initiative taken by Caritas Sri Lanka SEDEC in creating community level awareness using the internationally recognized 3R concept and Takakura Composting Methodology.

Mr. Yu Hwa Li, Senior Executive Manager, Caritas Sri Lanka explaining the Caritas’ Solid Waste Management Programme briefed the participants on the present context of the garbage issue in Sri Lanka. He said that Sri Lanka generated around 23000 metric tons of waste and using the concepts such as 3R, the generation of waste should be reduced at the house hold level which is in fact the waste generation point. He further illustrated the number of years certain waste categories take to decay, specially making comparisons to that of the polymer products (plastics) which take millions of years emphasizing the gravity of the current garbage problem caused by the use of polythene and other non-bio degradable products.

He said that Caritas led approach  would be a two-fold one, focusing on advocacy for a behavioural and attitudinal change in every citizen towards acting responsibly in managing solid waste at the point of waste generation. Secondly by contributing meaningfully as a value-add service to the government’s efforts in effectively managing solid waste by establishing a solid waste collection & composting centre in the Diocese of Colombo.

More elaborate demonstrations on Takakura Composting and Waste Segregation methods were given by Mr. Terrence Kodippily and Mr. Sajith Silva from Caritas National Centre Staff.

The culmination of the event marked the official launch of the Programme by all the 14 Bishops endorsing and expressing their commitment to the Caritas’ 3R+ Takakura methodology as an awareness campaign with the final goal of effective Solid Waste Management throughout the island. Finally each Bishop signed off on the Commitment Pledge and endorsed the initiative of Caritas Sri Lanka-SEDEC.

The entire event was organized under the leadership of Rev. Fr. Mehendra Gunatilleke, National Director, Caritas Sri Lanka-SEDEC.