National Productivity Award winner - 2005

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Solid Waste Management Center


This is the oldest urban council in the Sabaragamuwa province and the Rathnapura district. The main objective of the present administration is to build a green and environmental friendly city in 2025 by managing the waste.

Anything thrown away in day-to-day life considering unnecessary is called garbage. Garbage is a main problem in Sri Lanka as well as in most of other countries. The daily amount of waste spoils the beauty of the city. The bad behaviors of the humans directly affect on this. All the things we use today become waste in the following day. Present day, waste has become a social problem as well as an environmental problem. Garbage consists of different percentages of decaying and non-decaying waste. The decaying waste can be used to make fertilizer and non-decaying could be recycled using the latest technology. So the waste could be used profitably as a way of income. The people who realized this are managing waste with the hope of having economic profits.

The administration of Balangoda urban council has realized this situation and a well organized waste management project is being adopted to get the benefits successfully.

The History Of Garbage Management Project

This urban council was established in 1939 and the first mayor was Mr. Barns Rathwatte the father of the world's first Lady Prime Minister Ms. Sirimavo Bandaranayake. It was first started as the "Senator Board" and 11 mayors have ruled this urban council up to now. This urban council has also been ruled by a special commissioner for another 9 years. The present mayor of the Balangoda urban council is Mr. Nimal Gamini Weerasinghe. This Urban council area is about 16.2 square kilometers in size and the present permanent resident human population of this urban area is about 23,220. Balangoda urban council facilitates almost all the basic common needs of about 40,000 people who enter the city for various types of purposes daily. The staff consists of 95 permanent and 37 substitute members are always ready to provide a good service to the public.

Special Events

Year Event
  • In year 2000 there was a primary waste management system on process.
  • Only the garbage collected on Monday (waste from the Sunday fair) was used to make compost.
  • All the other collected garbage was excluded to a land belonged to the urban authority.
  • Chief Public Health Inspector Mr. Nimal Premathilake came to Balangoda
  • Excluding the garbage into the land of the urban authority was prohibited.
  • Officials were carrying on the waste management project by stocking the daily collected garbage (about 1 metric ton per day) on the sides of the road.
  • The first public outcry was made due to pollution of paddy fields caused by the leaking waste water of the stocked garbage beside the roads.
  • Then a tank was built to avoid the flowing of the leaking waste water from garbage into fields and it was developed further.
  • In this year the political change of the county caused the waste management project firmly.
  • Tenders were called to privatize the waste management project in October 2002.
  • Waste management project was entrusted to a private institution on 1st November 2002.
  • • Labours were resigned as the private institution was cutting off their daily salaries.
  • The second public out cry was made against the Balangoda urban council on 14th November 2002
  • The waste management project was taken over under the authority of Balangoda urban council.
  • The labours re-joined to the project at the beginning of year 2003.
  • Daily collected waste as graded in to two as decaying garbage and non-decaying garbage.
  • Recyclable waste was separated when grading.
  • The size of the pile of garbage which used to organic fertilizer using the open window method.
  • The project started in 2003 with new features was carried on.
  • Had to face a problem when selling fertilizer.
  • • Mr. Nimal adopted the duty of a fertilizer promoter and continued a mobile fertilizer market using a lorry.
  • On record income was granted by producing and selling the organic fertilizer successfully.
  • A new land was donated by the commission of land reform to continue the waste management project.
  • Balangoda urban council was able to win the first place at National productivity awards – 2005. (Local authorities)
  • The foundation stone was laid to build a buying center of recyclable goods in the middle of the city.
  • Bought a "Bob Cat" using the income received by selling fertilizer.
  • The present mayor Mr. Nimal Gamini Weerasinghe was again selected.
  • The First floor of the solid waste management center building was completed using a 1 million LKR out of 2 million LKR received by the Sabaragamuwa provincial council. Then a training center was established on the first floor.
  • Using the balance of 1 million LKR a new "Bob Cat" was bought. (The total value of the bob cat is 29,75000.00 LKR and after making a down payment of 1 million, the rest 19.75000 LKR was made in 3 installments within 6 months)
  • Building a 25 x 60 feet building complex for the waste management center using the 500000.00 LKR received by the ministry of local authorities to collect non-decaying waste.
  • Building and opening a non-decaying waste buying center called "Sampath Piyasa" (Resource center) at Balagahamula Junction expending 800000.00 LKR.
  • On the day of opening a fair was organized to buy non-decaying garbage with the participation of 17 schools of the area and the total income was 22000.00 LKR. The amount of collected was on that single day was 4 tons. The chief guest of this opening ceremony was Minister of natural and environmental affairs Mr. Patali Champika Ranawaka.

An excreta cleaning system was established by expending 3.5 million LKR which was received by the national solid waste management center of ministry of local authorities plus 3 million LKR from Balangoda urban council.

This system is able to clean 10000 liters of excreta per day and this system consists of following units.

  1. Receiving Tank
  2. Sedemedativn Two Tank
  3. Water Treatment Plant
  4. Dry Bed.

6000 liters of water cleaned by this system is used in making compost fertilizer and 5000ks of fertilizer is being made per month using this method.

Five non-decaying waste buying centers were established in schools expending the money donated by national solid waste management center, Learn Asia organization and etc.

The names of the schools are mentioned below:

  1. R/ St. Agnes Girls' School
  2. R/ Buddha Jayanthi Central College
  3. R/ Vidyaloka Vidyalaya
  4. R/ C.C. Tamil School
  5. R/ Jeilani Central College

Five resource centers were opened in those schools and these centers were expected to buy non-decaying waste (16 different kinds). The waste is directly bought by these centers and there is a scoring system too.

  • Introducing a door to door garbage collecting system.
  • Formalizing the garbage tax collecting.
  • Collecting the decaying garbage separately.

Main Elements Of The Solid Waste Management:

  1. Sweeping the roads
  2. Collecting garbage
  3. Cleaning the drains
  4. Transporting the collected garbage to the compost yard.

01. Sweeping The Roads

  • Deploying two labours on the two sides of the road.
  • Each labour must sweep a distance of 1km of the road per day.
  • Deploying the workers in both day and night shifts separately
  • Removing the sand on roads at least once a month.
  • Each labour must start sweeping the roads at least 30 min before the garbage collecting vehicles arrive.

02. Collecting Garbage

  • Collecting garbage according to the timetable using the map.
  • Distributing barrels to each and every meat and fish stall to put waste.
  • Fish and meat stalls are situated at last according to the garbage collectors' map.
  • Urban council owned tractors and land masters are used to collect garbage.
  • Using lorry dustbins to collect garbage.
  • Engaging only two labours per one vehicle to collect street garbage.
  • Garbage should be collected in each street once a day and twice a day in each main street.
  • Introducing a "Music Playing" system to collect waste.
  • Unloading the collected garbage into the compost yard once in each 45 min usually.

03. Grading Garbage

  • Grading of garbage into two as decaying garbage and non-decaying garbage is done by using the labours daily.
  • Usually here the grading isn't done 100%. An amount of 4 tons of garbage is graded by 4 labours within 45 min.
  • When grading garbage it is separated into 11 items such as paper, cardboard, polythene, plastic, bottles, tins, steel, king coconut shells, tyres, tubes, coconut shells ….. etc.
  • There are about 65-70% decaying goods, 20-25% non-decaying goods and 10-15% land filling waste among daily collected waste.

04. Making Compost Fertilizer Using The Decaying Garbage

  • The graded waste is stocked in piles (hight-12 feet, width – 5 feet) according to open window method.
  • These piles are kept untouched for about 6 weeks.
  • The piles start distilling waste water in about 6 hours. This waste water contains a high demand of bio chemical oxygen and is acidic. So it is collected in a separate tank.
  • Then that waste water is mixed with pure water according to the ratio of 1:1000 and then it is again added to the waste piles.
  • In the dry season it is essential to moist the piles once in 30 min.
  • These steps help to maintain the required temperature, development of bacteria…etc.
  • After six weeks the piles are being turned in order to quicken the process by airing the piles well.
  • Waste water is being sprayed again and again on to the turned piles.
  • After two more weeks the decayed waste is being turned again and mixed well.
  • After the second turning the compost piles are kept to dry and the moist is being reduced up to 8%.
  • The final product is being sent through the graders to separate non-decaying materials from compost.

Special Occasions When Making Compost

  • The composting process takes place under airy conditions.
  • All the compost making open window piles of waste are kept in open areas and the cranes are also gathering in those areas. So the cranes are considered as a bio index which measures the quality of the process.
  • When the piles are not associated with cranes, it is a sigh that indicates that the decaying process under airy conditions is stopped and the generation of toxic gases has started.
  • • As a treatment for this, the waste water distilled from waste piles are mixed with jiggery and again sprayed on to the piles. This is also a new testing method to control the bad smell.

The Steps Taken To Ensure The Quality Of Compost Fertilizer

  • • The mass rate is very important in converting garbage into compost. It also causes the quality of the compost fertilizer.
  • • As the administration of Balangoda urban council has realized this clearly, the blood mixed waste from fish and meat stalls are being added to the holes in middle of the collected waste.
  • This directly helps to ensure the quality of the compost fertilizer too.
  • • There are 4 rice mills inside the urban area and they produce around 1 metric ton of rice husks per week. These rice husks were used to pill the wet lands until the year 2004.
  • • Later as the department of agriculture introduced a way of making charcoal using rice husks, following the steps solid waste management center of Balangoda urban council was able to produce 2500Kg of rice husk charcoal per month.
  • • The rice husk charcoal made like this is being mixed with compost in the ratio of 1:100.
  • This directly helps to ensure the quality of the compost fertilizer as well as to increase the amount of moisture required for compost up to 15%.
  • • Batteries and hair are a major problem when making compost. These are directly resulting minimizing of the quality of fertilizer.
  • • Balangoda urban council was able to overcome these short comings by making aware the community regarding these matters and introducing new rules.
  • • All the removed hair from saloons and the batteries removed by the wristwatch service centers are collected separately.

The income collected by selling compost fertilizer

Amount of manufactured fertilizer
Income (LKR)

What happens to the non-decaying garbage when grading?

Empty king-coconut shells

The daily collection of king coconut shell are a major headache for the heath officers. Especially these shells are a major reason for the evolution of mosquitoes.

The amount of king coconut shells collected daily inside the urban area is around 1200 – 1500. Those shells are cut into pieces and dried well. Those dried shells are used as a fuel. So it saves about 2500 LKR of the urban council as the urban council had to spend about 7500 LKR for fuel earlier.

Paper and Cardboard

The daily collected paper and cardboard are graded in to three categories as cardboard, books and papers. Usually the urban council sells around 1000Kg for recycling purposes. The main buyers are Neptune paper (pvt) Ltd, No 390, Avissawella Road, Wellampitiya and Sunbeam paper mills, Ranagalawatte, Nagoda. The total income is around 18000 LKR per month in 20% out of it is given to the labours.


The daily collected plastic is graded in to two as pet bottles and other plastic. A 1 Kg of pet bottles is sold at a price of 10-20 LKR and the other plastic are sold at a common price. The regiform products are collected separately.


When collecting waste the polythene is collected separately. But all the types of polythene are collected together. All these polythene are sold at a reasonable price to Mr. Saman who lives near the town and he divides them at his house. He has few employees under him and the amount of sold polythene is around 1200 Kg per month.


The daily collected amount of steel is around 375Kg per week. This amount of steel is sold to local buyers at a reasonable price.

Burnt Bulbs

About 650Kg of burnt bulbs are collected within a single month. There are a group of people who make oil lamps using these bulbs as a self employment. So the bulbs are used to make lamps and the broken and damaged ones are used to fill the lands.


The glass bottles are separated as white bottles and brown bottles. But the industrial glasses comes with garbage are cannot be recycled. The collected bottles are sold to local buyers at a same price.

e - Waste

As the technology is developed in the globalized economic system the use of electronic equipment such as computers, mobile phones….etc. has increased. The old type electronic equipment and the imported old type computers are a major problem in waste management. As the amount of e-waste is increased the plastic parts are collected separately to be recycled. But the chips and the circuits are stored expecting a demand in the future. The compact disks are used to fill the lands as they don't have any value.

A price for waste

The recyclable waste buying center is a major unit which belongs to the waste management project of Balangoda urban council. Mr. Sunil Sandapangoda is carrying on the process successfully.An amount of 10000 LKR is issued from the account of the waste management center to buy waste at a time. This buying center is opened in each day of the week. There is a price list displayed and the prices for the waste are clearly mentioned there. The recyclable goods brought by the citizens are collected and the tires are also accepted. The collected paper and cardboard are sold to the local buyers at a reasonable price.

The Income Collected By Selling Recyclable Goods


The income is used to pay the over time allowance, electricity bills of the urban council and to take all the employees of the urban council a picnic once a year. This is also used as a fund to give loans to the employees.

It is clear when studying, that the reasons for the success of this waste management project are the awareness of the administration on this matter, making aware the community regarding this, introducing new rules and regulations, and managing human and physical resources meaningfully.

All the businessmen are bound to pay a tax for the waste and all of them are made aware of that well. All the businessmen must divide their waste in to two as decaying and non-decaying garbage. They are expected to follow 9 instructions to avoid paying tax for waste.

  1. Grading the waste into two as decaying and non-decaying.
  2. Collecting them in two separate bins.
  3. Putting two bins to put decaying and non-decaying garbage.
  4. Collecting non-decaying waste and selling them to the Resource center of the urban council.
  5. Avoid putting waste on the road.
  6. Avoid using lunch sheets.
  7. Avoid directing waste water from kitchen and bathrooms into main drain system.
  8. Avoid selling cigarettes if there is no special space allocated for smoking.
  9. Making aware all the employees of the institution on this.

National Productivity award competition - 2005 was organized by the National Productivity Secretariat (Ministry of Productivity Promotion) and Balangoda urban council was able to win the award for the best urban council in Sri Lanka by following the steps mentioned above.

This urban council provides a unique service using a power of 300 man hours within a month and managing the limited space and machines profitably. Not only that, but also organizes workshops and training programmes to train the employees of waste management centers of nearby areas and to distribute the knowledge on waste management among the members of the society.

Future expectations

  • Establishing a well planned pipe drain system to remove the waste water in each house.
  • Establishing a wet land to treat waste water as well as to increase the beauty of the city.
  • Engaging a labour with a motor bicycle to buy and collect non-decaying waste in the urban area. The recognized activities of the five year plan of solid waste management.

  1. Establishing a buying center for non-decaying waste.
  2. Increasing the buying of non-decaying waste up to 10%.
  3. Awareness programme for the business institutions on waste grading according to two categories. (Decaying and non-decaying)
  4. Introducing the garbage tax.
  5. Establishing an excreta treatment system.
  6. Establishing the solid waste management training center.
  7. Introducing a garbage collecting system with playing music. (siren)
  1. Establishing the stage 4 of the solid waste management center.
  2. Increasing the grading of garbage in the generating place itself up to 30% in residence areas and up to 60% in commercial areas.
  3. Building a sanitary waste holder for 10% of other waste.
  4. Increasing the quality of the organic fertilizer.
  5. Adding phosphate to organic fertilizer.
  6. Engaging a motor bicycle to collect non-decaying waste.
  1. Developing the capacity of the training center.
  2. Holding NVQ certificate courses for the members of the local authority staff.
  3. Increasing fertilizer manufacturing capacity up to 6 metric tons.
  4. Establishing 5 non-decaying waste buying centers in schools.
  5. Increasing the buying of non-decaying waste up to 40%.
  6. Holding a fair to buy garbage.
  1. Establishing five school level recycling centers.
  2. Increasing the grading of garbage in the generating place itself up to 80%.
  3. Using a mobile marketing stall to sell fertilizer.
  4. Taking the waste from another two local authorities.
  5. Started door to door garbage collecting.
  6. The course validity was increased up to NVQ Level4.
  1. Holding an internationally recognized solid waste management training programme.
  2. Holding Training programmes for university students.
  3. Recycling polythene.
  4. Increasing garbage grading up to 80%.
  5. Establishing a waste water treatment system.

An opportunity to get an internationally approved certificate on waste management…

There is a course held at the solid waste management center of Balangoda urban council called “Solid Waste Management Assistant Course”. This course is conducted by the collaboration of Balangoda urban Council, National vocational Authority and Learn Asia Organization. You can also apply for this…..

Duration - 03 Months (Weekends only)
Course fee - 15,000 LKR (could be made by two installments)

A certificate of National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ) will be awarded for those who complete the course successfully.

Download the Application

Contact Info:

UC Public Health Inspector 01
Mr. N.L.Sri Raj Liyanage
Tel: 076-7054104 /071-3054104 / 045-2287275

UC Public Health Inspector 02
Mr. B.L.K.L Kumarasinghe
Tel: 077-3085303 /075-7729609/ 045-2287275

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