Chief Opposition Whip Anura Kumara Dissanayake yesterday in Parliament questioned the measures taken by the government with regard to the Coca Cola Company for allegedly polluting the Kelani river. Dissanayake was raising a question under Standing Order 23(2).
He pointed out the investigations into the incident of the Kelani River water pollution on August 17 were not properly carried out.
He directed the attention of the House to the reports that the substance leaked to the water was a poisonous chemical known as “4-Methylimidazol” as identified by the laboratory tests conducted in India.
“As environmentalists point out about 1,900 litres of this chemical had been leaked to the river. According to the residents, the Coca Cola Company, which is an American MNC, had released waste water to the river without following proper water treatment methods. Therefore, the above incident cannot be considered as an accidental leak,” Dissanayake said.
He questioned as to why the Environment Protection License (EPL) was temporarily restored to the company’s bottling plant at Biyagama without a proper assessment on the strategies and protective measures adopted by the factory when handling the chemical.
The MP queried on the losses incurred by state institutions from the incident on August 17 and the measures taken to recover them from the company.
He asked to explain the legal procedure adopted to determine the amount of compensation paid by the company to the relevant state institutions. Water Supply and Drainage Minister Rauf Hakeem said he would provide a collective response at a future date to the questions raised by Dissanayake as the matter relates to his ministry as well as the Environment Ministry.