Uncollected garbage at Galle Prison posing health risk
By Eunice Ruth and Kamal Wijehewa
Garbage disposed from Galle Prison has not been collected for a week and has caused problems along with the stench, said a spokesman for the Galle Prison.
There are about 600 inmates and 150 officers in the Prison. Garbage was dumped near the main gate and it is infested with flies and worms, as a result, prison officials are faced with many difficulties due to this situation. Previously, garbage was collected by Municipal Council workers daily and this situation began after a COVID-19 patient was detected in the Galle Prison on 5 January.
However, prison officials said from 6 January, the garbage was not taken by Municipal workers and due to the accumulation of garbage for several days, flies have been breeding within the prison and has caused many environmental problems. They also pointed out that this situation was a serious health risk to inmates, officers, as well as others at the Prison. Upto yesterday (14), the garbage was not removed by Galle Municipal Council workers, and no steps were taken to resolve this issue.
Galle Mayor, Priyantha G. Sahabandu, said over 100 COVID-19 patients were detected in the past few days and due to this, following the normal process to collect garbage from the prison was a risk as it posed a threat to other employees as well. He also said he has informed the relevant Department to clear the garbage at the prison. However, an issue has arisen over the garbage as the garbage has not been separated. “Normally, the garbage is collected as it is separated into plastic, paper and others. We requested prison officials to cooperate with us and separate it to make the collection process easier,” he said.
He further said COVID-19 patients also dispose garbage in the same lot. “Due to this concern, the garbage cannot be dumped at the Monrowiyawatta garbage dump, along with other garbage. We have decided to bury the garbage in a pit, to prevent the further spread with improper disposal. Immediate steps will be taken to remove the garbage that has not been collected from the Prison premises,” he added.
“The Health Department has not issued guidelines to discard garbage of the COVID-19 infected. We request them to provide us with guidelines, to prevent the spread of the virus,” Sahabandu said.