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Sri Lanka Court Orders Illegal Waste Back to UK

Colombo, Sri Lanka After a year-long legal process, the Court of Appeal of Sri Lanka ordered its Central Environmental Authority (CEA) to return over 240 waste containers back to the United Kingdom after their illegal import to this South Asia island nation. In the case brought by the Centre for Environmental Justice Sri Lanka, the court also recommended that government authorities take legal action against the companies who sent the waste.

The day after the order, the company responsible for importing the waste notified the court that it was prepared to take back the containers. Ceylon Metal Processing (pvt) Ltd in 2017 sent the containers, where they were subsequently found in Hayley's Hub operation location in Katunayaka FTZ and in the China container terminal in Colombo Harbour. The containers were reportedly shipped by UK exporter Vanguard with the assistance of a relative who is a Sri Lankan importer. The container shipment did not have permission, violating the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal.

The Government of Sri Lanka is now demanding SLR 1.6 billion (~$8.7 million USD) from the UK for the illegal exportation of waste to Sri Lanka against the Basel Convention. The Sri Lanka Customs Department and CEA have agreed to prosecute the companies responsible for the illegal importation of waste.