Chief Opposition Whip JVP Parliamentarian Anura Dissanayake yesterday questioned in Parliament under Standing Order 23(2) the measures taken by the government with regard to the Coca Cola Company for polluting the Kelani River.
Mr. Dissanayaka said the investigations into the incident of the Kelani River water pollution on 17th August were not properly carried out.
He drew 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 multinational company released waste water to the river without following proper water treatment methods. Therefore, the above incident cannot be considered as an accidental leak,” Mr. Dissanayake said.
He said there is a serious allegation that the Central Environmental Authority did not carry out a proper test with the water but has repeated the explanation given by Coca – Cola company that it was diesel that was released to Kelani River.
Mr. Dissanayaka asked why the Environmental 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.
He asked how much state institutions had lost due to the incident and what measures have been taken to recover them from the company. Mr. Dissanayaka wanted to know 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 response to the question at a future date saying the matter raised by Mr. Dissasnayaka relates to his ministry as well as the Environment Ministry.