A Cleaner Colombo


Colombo has become cleaner. That is a fact. One has to accept it. But a long way to go too. This is not sufficient. We are better than Indian cities but there is no point in comparing with the worst and boasting. But this is a good start. We don’t see the empty yoghurt cups, milk packets, shopping bags, etc. anymore by the road side. They directly go to the dust collectors. This is a good move because this change was done without introducing punishment. Only convincing the people was enough. No wonder we have 90+% literacy rate and people can understand the message. The advert run on TV where a big worm follows a person who dumps dirt by the roadside was effective.

When we heard that the Defense Secretary was the man behind making Colombo clean we expected him to use force and take some drastic actions like on the spot punishments, well… etc. I am not sure whether people started collecting garbage and dump them in assigned places out of fear or just thinking it a national duty. Anyway, Colombo is becoming better. So are the suburbs.

Obviously, the villages in Sri Lanka were cleaner than cities whereas in India both are equally dirty. Towns in the outstations also are becoming better these days. I usually don’t even drop the bus ticket on the street but take it to the dustbin at the office or home and I don’t think I’m the only one who does so. There are more people who do care about the environment. They should be encouraged and rewarded.

Urban councils don’t have a sound plan to collect garbage. They should keep garbage bins in proper locations so that people could drop their garbage in to these bins. Nobody wants to make a street unclean.

Colombo is greener these days due to the plants and trees grown by the roadside. Vihara Maha Devi Park, canals, and the beaches are cleaner. Parliament area is like a park now.

The other main area the authorities should look at is the public toilets. There should be more public toilets and they should be kept clean. I don’t mind even private sector companies coming in and offering better service for a bigger fee. Even though some toilet signs are displayed in fuel stations only very few of them have toilets. This should be made compulsory for fuel stations and roadside hotels.

9 thoughts on “A Cleaner Colombo

  1. It was rather surprising to note your comparison with India. I am not an Indian but a Sri Lankan and what you said was correct in the past. But now they are coming up and their culture is also getting evolved to cleaner places. They are big in size, and dominating our country.
    You should have noticed that our leaders are going there to get approval for many of their moves. We are going behind them to get many items including weapons. Now among the SAARC countries, our one is small, corrupted and poor. We have been obtaining assistance from almost all the countries around us. Even our high level people go to other countries to obtain funds for our needs and indebted to them in many ways.
    Within our country we talk as if we are great but globally we are a tiny ant.

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    • Dear Anandarajah,

      I have been to Pune, Chennai and Hyderabad. Cities are like pigsties. I’m not trying to be anti-Indian here. I report what I saw. I haven’t been to the North India and I heard it is better. I will not be convinced till I see the North with my own eyes.

      About the other things like economy, you are right; they are bigger players. But I am talking only about cleanliness here. Sri Lankans don’t shit on the roads. I don’t know why India can’t stop that yet.

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      • Agree with Nandasiri. Even my Indian friends who have been to SL say SL is far cleaner.
        As for economy etc, yes, India is a giant🙂 The comparison here is though, is on cleanliness, not economy.

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    • I’m sorry, but what a sour reply Mr Anandarajah. One might think you have a problem with Sri Lanka and are trying to drag politics into this post. I have been to Chennai, and Colombo is certainly are far more pleasant city in comparison. Chennai is incredibly dirty, incredibly crowded and there is almost a complete lack of greenery. Add the heat to the mixture and it is rather intolerable Colombo may not stand beside any world cities but it certainly stands ahead of Chennai (I can’t comment on other Indian cities as I have not visited them).

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  2. Most of the Indian cities as well as villages are dirty as I witnessed myself. The animals live together with people in some streets. There is no traffic management at all in most of the cities. It is embarassing to see shitting beaches in Chennai. I also agree that most of the Srilankan cities as well as villages are cleaner than India. Colombo is the best example now. It had been terrible just few years ago . The north capital, Jaffna was one of the most clean city beforte 35 years. I was surprised to see the cleaniness when I visited Jaffna in 1978.
    Sop that is about polution. The corruption is concerned both contries are very competitive.

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  3. Thanks for this article. Very true!! Hopefully there will be more improvements… the next step is to get all the drivers in Colombo drive in a civil manner and stick to their lanes so as to ensure free flow of traffic.

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  4. Pingback: Page not found | Nandasiri Wanninayaka

  5. I was born in Srilanka but is currently living in France for several decades,I last visited Srilanka in 2007,from what I gather from people who had visited Srilanka,is that Sriçlanka is becoming clean like Singapore,& thats good news & I am proud about it.

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