Committee to report on ships dumping oil around Sri Lanka

Mahinda Amaraweera, Environment Minister

Environment Minister, Mahinda Amaraweera has appointed a committee to study the environmental issues that may arise due to fuel oil being dumped from ships arriving at Sri Lankan ports.

The report will be submitted to the Cabinet, the Environment Ministry said. It has been revealed that fuel oil dumped by ships arriving at Sri Lankan ports is causing great environmental damage. This is due to the irregular discharge of polluted water from these fuels into the environment.

A discussion was held at the Environment Ministry on Wednesday, July 21, regarding the environmental damage caused by this illegal activity of fuel oil. The discussion was chaired by Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera.

“In the international system of removal of fuel oil from ships, only fuel oil that has been added from the last port of call to the next port can be disposed of. If a ship discharges fuel oil in all countries except ours, the relevant ships will have to pay a fee to that country due to the environmental damage caused to that country. But what happens in our country is that we pay for ships and buy fuel,” the Minister said.

In the process of removing water from fuel oil, the water is directly discharged to water sources such as rivers and streams. It was revealed that one liter of that dirty water pollutes 10,000 liters of clean water. Also, heavy metals such as Arsenic, Cyanide, Lead and Cadmium contained in this water have added to the drinking water and eventually the people of the country have to face many deadly diseases such as kidney failure (CKD).

Therefore, a committee was appointed by Minister Mahinda Amaraweera to study the environmental issues that may arise due to the industry associated with fuel oil being dumped from ships and to submit a report to the Cabinet. He also appointed a representative of the Environment Ministry, the Environmental Protection Authority, MEPA, CPC and groups currently engaged in businesses related to this fuel oil.

Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera also said the income of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation has been severely affected due to the industry which is related to the fuel oil discharged from ships.

“At present there are about eight companies engaged in this industry and there are two companies that store fuel oil. The stores of these companies are overflowing with fuel oil and the environmental damage caused by this has increased tremendously,” the Minister said.