Workshop for Local Authorities on Sanitation Practices.

The main objective of this workshop is to introduce a Sanitation manual for local authorities to upgrade the sanitary level of the local authorities. 20 officers representing Gampaha and Moratuwa Municipal Council were attended to the workshop. Theses 20 officers were comprised with commissioners of each Municipal Councils, Deputy Commissioner of Moratuwa Municipal Council and technical officers, engineers of Sri Lanka Institute of Local Governance participated to this discussion.

Prof. P.K.S.Mahanama. Prof. Pussellawa and Dr. Rangajeewa Ratnayake have chaired the session.

Within this discussion 4 themes were discussed in detail. They are

  1. Domestic solid waste management
    2. Maintenance of household soakage pits and septic tanks
    3. Surface runoff

Under these topics, the sessions were divided under three sessions. They are,

Session 1 – Prevailing Situation and practices of local authorities in Sanitation Management Practices in Sri Lanka

Session 2 – Prevailing rules and regulations related to sanitation management in Sri Lanka.

Session 3 – How we should change the existing sanitation management related building approval procedures in Sri Lanka?

Decisions took at the meeting.

The meeting was successfully concluded leaving positive thoughts for the better implementation of the sanitation guidance system. The following key points were highlighted to be effective with immediate actions.

Community awareness sessions shall be arranged in every local authority areas to make the community aware of the consequences of poor sanitation management and the suitable techniques to be adopted for the area that they are living.

The sanitation education was identified as the initial step for the implementation of an effective sanitation management system.

Under this point the idea was raised to maintain a system of shared responsibilities within the community to make a comprehensive sanitation management system.

Within a system of shared responsibilities, every stakeholder of the system holds a responsibility to be taken care of and within that a centralized waste management system shall be an effective form for the urban areas.

Specially in housing dense areas the centralized waste management system shall be an effective form to avoid contamination of ground water table and unnecessary space allocation for waste management.

Apart from that, a suggestion was raised to the local authorities to hold the powers in making sanitation management related planning decisions.

Especially when approving building applications and certificates of conformity, waste management shall be considered as a prime requirement and the proposed applications shall consist of a comprehensive waste management system according to the sanitation management standards.

Further, the Public Health Inspector’s (PHI) role was said to be identified as a crucial factor when implementing an effective ground level sanitation management system and it was raised that the contribution of the PHI shall be considered in planning committee meetings.

Also, it was commonly agreed to possess professional technicians in the local authority to provide assistance to the public whenever required. The purpose is to provide technical knowledge and assistance to the public when installing a sanitation management system. Especially, sceptic tanks and waste management systems.

Finally, it was identified that the absence of a comprehensive sanitation management policy creates a huge vacuum in the subject. Therefore, all these decisions shall be included in a common policy so that the implementation gets convenient and compulsory for every local authority.