Sri Lanka returns illegal waste containers to Britain: Customs | Europe

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The containers were intended to transport used mattresses, rugs and rugs, but also contained hospital waste, officials said.

Sri Lanka has returned to Britain containers of waste that the government says were brought to the island in violation of international laws governing the transport of hazardous materials.The 21 containers – containing up to 260 tonnes of waste – first arrived by boat at the main port in the capital Colombo between September 2017 and March 2018, customs officials told AFP news agency, adding that ‘they had left Sri Lanka on Saturday.

The contents of the container were believed to include used mattresses, carpeting and rugs, but it also contained hospital waste, officials said.

“The sender had agreed to take back these 21 containers,” customs spokesman Sunil Jayaratne told AFP on Sunday. “We are working to obtain compensation from the people responsible for bringing the containers into the country.”

Customs did not disclose the type of hospital waste, but previous illegally imported containers included rags, bandages and body parts from morgues, officials said.

Another 242 UK containers, which the government said contained illegal waste in violation of international law, remain abandoned in the same port and in a free trade zone outside Colombo. They arrived in 2017 and 2018.

The government is currently engaged in legal action against the shipper to have the 242 containers removed from the country.

A Sri Lankan investigation last year into nearly 3,000 tonnes of illegally imported hazardous waste found that the importer reshipped around 180 tonnes to India and Dubai in 2017 and 2018.

In recent years, several Asian countries have refused to be treated as the dumping ground for the rich world and have returned containers of waste from overseas shores.



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