SEVANATHA has successfully completed the Municipal Waste Recycling Project (MWRP) in DMMC Area, Sri Lanka – 2017 to 2020

The Community-Led Municipal Waste Management Project in DMMC area has been implemented with the focus of contributing to reduce the ocean pollution through plastic waste. It is a two years duration project (August 2017 to March 2020) which was financially supported by USAID and executed through Development Innovations Group (DIG) of USA.

The key activities implemented under the project included public and community awareness creation on the project and strengthening the operation of Private and Informal Sector (PIS) waste collectors by providing required technical assistance, contribute to strengthen the municipal Solid Waste Management (SWM) system, establishment of community led waste collection centers, Installation of waste traps etc.

The project also facilitated public-private partnerships to foster collaboration between the SWM service providers and the primary waste collectors.

It is important to highlight that, the achievements and the impacts of the project activities are visible and sustainable with the direct involvement and the participation of relevant stakeholder groups in the project area.

The project directly contributed to change the behavior and to improve the livelihood of local communities though the introduced better waste management practices by the project. The results of this social change have been identified in the aspects of health and hygiene, clean and safe environment for all and improved knowledge on safe handling of Solid Waste.

The most exciting outcomes of the project are; Creation of employment opportunities for women, women empowerment and their active participation in SWM, increased volume of recyclable waste handled by the PIS collectors.

When consider about the beneficiaries of the MWRP in DMMC area, the total number of direct beneficiaries have been about 42,300 and indirect beneficiaries are about 127,000. And it should be mentioned that the total population of the DMMC has benefited from the MWRP in many ways. Considering the above achievements, it can be recorded that almost all the planned project activities and capacity building of project eneficiaries were successfully achieved during the project period.

Results based on the Evaluation of the Project Activities
Creating awareness among general public and relevant stakeholders.

In consultation with the DMMC staff, the MWRP team of SEVANATHA has conducted 119 nos. of programs for above categories during the project period. Further, totally 11,358 nos. of participants were made aware and trained by the MWRP project team through the implementation of activities and awareness raising. Among them, 57% of participants were recorded as female and the rest 43% male participants.

Strengthening the operation of Private & Informal Sector (PIS) Waste Collectors and Community Champions

Considering the importance of the role played by the PIS collectors in the Solid Waste Management process, the MWRP team of SEVANTHA started working with them, aiming at further understanding their operation and linkages with large scale buyers and related recycling industry operators. Their contribution to reduce ocean pollution through plastic waste has been considered central point of this intervention The MWRP Team has carried out an initial assessment survey of all the PIS collectors operating within the DMMC area and the key findings of the survey as follows There are total 27 nos. of PIS collectors operating in the DMMC area Most of them are located in Rathmanala and Attidiya SWM zones Only one collector is exclusively engaged in buying polythene while majority are buying other recyclable items such as; iron, bronze, brass, glass, card board and hard plastic items. It was found that there is a good market for glass, cans, brass, cardboard and plastic than polythene. Many collectors are operated as single person (Individual business activity)

PIS collectors based on No. of Persons Employed

No. of Employee Count Percentage
01 (Owner operated) 10 37%
01 – 02 Employed 09 33%
02 - 04 Employed 08 30%
Total 27 27

The Operators are used to purchase the recyclable items through the municipal workers/Labors and already connected suppliers from surrounding areas rather than following door to door collection method

All the collectors are in need of getting registered in the DMMC or any other responsible government body.

Based on the survey finding, the MWRP team of SEVANATHA has prepared the profile of PIS waste Collectors in DMMC area. The profile consist the basic information; (i.e. name, No. of Employee Count Percentage 01 (Owner operated) 10 37% 01 – 02 Employed 09 33% 02 - 04 Employed 08 30% Total 27 100% Page 4 of 7 address, items purchased and method of collection etc.) related to the PIS Collectors operating in the project areas of DMMC.

The table below summarizes the contribution of the MWRP project activities for an improved waste management system with the involvement of PIS collectors and Community Champions.

  PIS collectors operation Community
Before the
After Before the
Presence/Existence 27 27 + 4 = 31
(Very recently another 04
collectors started the
operation in DMMC area)
0 10
Plastic Waste
(PW) Collectors
23 27 0 10
Average PW
Collection per
3 MT 10 MT 0 200 Kg-
250 Kg
It is important to highlight that, The total amount of PW collected by PIS collectors
is 6318.71MT and The Community Champions were managed to collect 11.85
MT during the project period.

The Community Resource Bank and Community Champions

Revitalization of the community waste bank in Badowita, Attidiya was undertaken by improving the existing non – functioning facility. This Community Resource Bank has been identified as important activity to be performed under the supervision of MWRP team. Firstly, the project team has decided to change the initially used name of Community Waste Bank (CWB) as the Community Resource Bank (CRB), aiming at convincing the community that, waste is a resource which they can utilize and carefully manage for earning additional income.

Under the MWRP, it has initiated revitalizing the Badowita collection center, improving its physical structure and the operational capacity

  • During the month of Sept. 2018 the MWRP has provided support to improve its drainage system and to expand the space for storage by constructing an additional paved platform with GI roofing cover and a concrete pad to place baling machines (02 nos.).
  • Three-phase electricity connection has been provided by the DMMC to the CRB for operating the baling machines.
  • The baling machine operation in the CRB was started with the support of DMMC and other relevant stakeholders. The MWRP Team has provided necessary training for the CRB operations.

Before the MWRP intervention

Badowita CRB operation after the Improvement

Sustainability of the Project

Sustainability of the project has been considered as a vital aspect from the design to implementation of the project. Sustainability has been a key consideration of many of the past projects implemented by SEVANATHA in Sri Lanka.

The DMMC was identified as the key stakeholder of the project and engaged in project implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) process. The private sector and the communities who engaged under this project were linked up with the DMMC being the local government body in the area creating a platform for them to continue communication after the expiry of the project period.

Installation of PET collection bins at Schools

Under this activity 12 nos. of PET collection bins have been installed in the Schools. The Environmental Committee of students was given the responsibility of taking care of these bins. The income gained through sale of PET bottles were credited to a Common Fund of the Environmental Committee and used for students’ welfare and environmental activities..

Installation of PET collection bins at Public Places
The PET collection bins placed at Public Places were managed by an identified Caretaker or a Municipal Worker. They have been linked up with the PIS Collectors to sell their items. SEVANATHA and DMMC are responsible for monitoring of these bins and gathering data for taking appropriate management decisions.

These PET collection bins have been recognized by the government and private sector as a Best Practice and scaling up of this initiative is currently taken place in Sri Lanka.