How safe is our drinking water? Environmentalists demand answer

By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

The Federation of Environmental Organizations (FEO) yesterday asked the government to reveal to the public whether the water supplied to Colombo was safe to drink owing to the contamination of part of the Kelani Ganga.

FEO’s Prof. Praveen Abhayaratne told The Island that the public was still receiving conflicting information about the safety of drinking water.

The public had a right to know if the issue had been sorted out and the government had taken all necessary measures to address the consequences of pollution, Prof. Abhayaratne added.

The water supply to three municipal council areas in the Colombo District were suspended on Friday (28) for the second time within two weeks due to an oil leak from the Coca Cola plant in Biyagama. However, the National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWSDB) has failed to identify the contaminating source in the second incident.

3“Whoever is responsible for the contamination of the Kelani River must be held accountable and made to pay compensation to the government for his or her negligence. About 400,000 citizens have been affected.”

The FEO said no company had the right to make profit at the expense of the environment and public health and the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) should have taken action to ensure consistently and adequately that industries located along the Kelani River did not violate environment protection laws.

“We lack proper information regarding the Kelani River oil contamination,” Prof. Abhayaratne said, adding that the government should have taken prompt action to address the issue.

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