Sri Lanka waste container issue discussed in UK Parliament | Daily News

Sri Lanka waste container issue discussed in UK Parliament

Questions about the export of waste to Sri Lanka which have been deemed illegal by Sri Lanka’s Environmental Authority have been raised this week in the UK Parliament. The UK government warned those responsible could be jailed for up to two years.

Ruth Jones, Member of Parliament for Newport West, asked the Secretary of State for Environment what discussions he has had with his Sri Lankan counterpart on the 21 containers of waste returned to the UK from that country in September 2020. The Newport West MP said that she was “shocked that these containers were first dispatched from the UK in 2017.”

Speaking about the shipments, she told journalists: “We need to take ownership of our own waste and not ship it off to countries which are less able to recycle or dispose of it safely. This means we need to look at the whole cycle of production of goods to ensure we do not continue to use virgin products and that goods produced can be recycled and component parts reused. We also need better waste collection and waste management sites and units across the UK along with increased Government efforts to enable the citizens of the UK to behave responsibly as we work to green our management of waste.”

Responding in Parliament on behalf of the Secretary of State, Waste and Recycling Minister, Rebecca Pow said the UK’s Environment Agency, as the competent authority for waste shipments for England, is proactively engaging with the authorities in Sri Lanka on these containers and is leading the response on this matter. Pow added: “The 21 containers arrived back in England on Wednesday 28 October. The containers, which were shipped to Sri Lanka in 2017, were found by Sri Lankan authorities to contain illegal materials described as mattresses and carpets which had been exported for recycling.

“With the shipment now back on English soil, Environment Agency enforcement officers will seek to confirm the types of waste shipped, who exported it and the producer of the waste. Those responsible could face a custodial sentence of up to two years, an unlimited fine, and the recovery of money and assets gained through the course of their criminal activity.”

(Let’s Recycle)