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[2020 Alumni Essay] Successful Cooperation with Korea to Resolve a Global Challenge

13 Nov, 2020 KDIS News Center 801

2020 INTERNATIONAL ALUMNI ESSAY CONTEST WINNERS’ ESSAYS

 

Successful Cooperation with Korea to Resolve a Global Challenge

PERERA, K.D. Susantha Ranjana (2006 MPP, Sri Lanka)

 

After graduating with a Master of Public Policy degree from KDI School, I began looking for a suitable place to work and make my career so that I could gain some firsthand experience in KDI. As I am majoring in Industrial and Human Resources Development in KDI, I joined the Industry Development section of the Department of National Planning in Sri Lanka, but I had to assume my duties as the director of the Environment in the same section. At the time, Sri Lanka did not follow a proper waste management policy for waste disposal and the main disposal method was dumping and burning. Neither the Government nor Local Authorities had a proper mechanism or experience for waste management. The Local Authorities did not have enough money for construction safe disposing infrastructure in waste management. The regulatory and supervision arm of the waste management was the Central Environmental Authority, but they did not involve in the waste management process directly, and their only duty was restricting and empowering the laws and regulation, and charging the fine from Local Authorities for bad mismanagement of waste. As I had visited some waste management plants in Korea during my KDI lifetime and had some experience, I recommended Korea to get some technical assistance for this purpose.

<First Phase of Sudokwan Landfill- After Completion>

<First Phase of Sudokwan Landfill- After Completion>

<Second Phase of Sudokwan Landfill- Before Completion>

However, making awareness among the elected members of the Local Authorities was too difficult as they believed that waste management projects would generate a bad odor and appearance in their small territories. At that time, since the municipal waste composed of mixed waste, the Local Authorities had been paying a high cost to segregate it into clinical, disposable, and reusable waste separately. In Korea, I have noticed that waste should segregate at the starting point, not at the endpoint. Accordingly, I approved a request from the Central Environment Authority to provide bins in different colors to segregate the waste at the origin of waste generation. In the meantime, I realized at the first that it needed to create an awareness of members of the Local Authorities and other stakeholders like Central Environment Authority, Land Reclamation Department, and Urban Development Authority. Then, I wrote to the Korean Institute of Cooperation Agency via my Director-General and the Department of External Resources about this matter. Accordingly, the KOICA promised us to provide assistance and construct a landfill in Sri Lanka. It was the first landfill in Sri Lanka. The location of the landfill had to change three times due to public protests and political incitements. It took a large time duration to start the project due to an unawareness of the officers and the public representatives. I and high-level officers and public representatives of the Local Authorities and other stakeholders participated in the field visit, and all identified that the landfilling is a healthy and safe scientific method of waste disposal. We also visited the World Cup Stadium in Seoul that had been built on a completed landfill in many years ago. Further, we examined a waste segregation site that is implementing under the Seoul Metropolitan Government.

<Incineration at Seoul Metropolitan>

<Classroom sessions on Solid Waste Management>

Our stakeholders understood how to segregate the mixed waste into disposable and reusable waste properly during this visit. During our tour, we further visited Keungoak Resources Recovery Center, Keungoak Landfill, Mapo Resource Recovery Center, Sudokwan Landfill in Korea.

<Keungoak Resources Recovery Center in South Korea>

<Keungoak Landfill in South Korea>

<Near the Sudokwan Landfill –I am the third from the left sitting on the floor>

After the visit, the stakeholders agreed to resolve all the issues on lands and facilitate to construct the first landfill in Dompe Local Government Territory. Now the landfill is functioning well, and the Local Government at Dompe earns a lot of money from processing the garbage residuals of other Local Authorities.

<Dompe Landfill in Sri Lanka>

<Dompe Landfill in Sri Lanka>

<Dompe Landfill in Sri Lanka>

After a long time duration, the government of Sri Lanka could open the first landfill with the support of Korean Assistance. After that, the demand for landfills from other localities was also gradually increased. Then, I proposed to build additional five landfills in different places of the country obtaining a loan from the Korean Economic Development Cooperation Bank. I was appointed as a Technical Committee Member for the selection of consultants for those constructions, and those consultants were selected during a shorter time period. The constructions of those landfills are now in progress. I was promoted to the post of Additional Director General of the National Planning.