Transforming Waste Management: Insights from the Dissemination Workshop in Akmeemana Divisional Secretariat

On 26 th of February 2024, a dissemination workshop was held in the Akmeemana Divisional Secretariat
in Galle, Sri Lanka under the project “Transformation of waste management practices and policies in
South Asia during and after the COVID-19 pandemic: Impacts on gender equality and sustainability.”
Supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation under the Swiss Programme for International
Research by Scientific Investigation Teams (SPIRIT), this workshop provided a platform for stakeholders
to discuss key findings and implications for waste management in the region.

Chaired by Mrs. K.G.P Purnima Abesirigunawardhana, the Divisional Secretary of Akmeemana, the
meeting gathered 15 officials from the local council, including Administrative Officers, Grama Seva
Officers, and Relief Officers of the DS. Professor Nishara Fernando, the Principal Investigator for Sri
Lanka, presented the project’s key findings, focusing on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on waste
management infrastructure, policies, recycling activities, and formal and informal waste workers.

Of particular relevance to the Akmeemana DS was the absence of formal waste collection, highlighting
the challenges faced in waste management, especially considering the population surge after the post-
tsunami relocation. Mrs. Abesirigunawardhana emphasized the importance of the research in addressing
these challenges and expanding the scope beyond Colombo to urban areas like the City of Galle. She
stressed the timely nature of the research and the necessity of extending waste management practices to
accommodate the growing population. Furthermore, the workshop served as a platform to share outputs
from the r4d project titled “Challenges of Municipal Solid Waste Management – Learning from Post
Crisis Governance Initiatives in South Asia.” Specifically, “Municipal Solid Waste Management in Sri
Lanka” and “Waste Management in Badovita” outputs were distributed among attendees, enriching
discussions on effective waste management strategies.

The dissemination workshop at Akmeemana Divisional Secretariat underscored the importance of
collaborative efforts and research-driven initiatives in addressing waste management challenges,
particularly in the context of post-crisis urban development.