Congratulations to Komalee Nadeeka Damayanthi Mahamadachchi for her confirmation of PhD candidature this month!

by Komalee N.D. Mahamadachchi:

Waste management became one of the focal themes of the global agenda due to complexity and adverse effects on humans and the environment. Global annual waste generation is around 2 billion tonnes, and it will increase up to 3.4 billion tonnes by 2050 (Kaza, Yao, Bhada-Tata, & Van Woerden, 2018). Despite the range of initiatives for waste management, it is still a challenging responsibility for most countries (Minelgaitė & Liobikienė, 2019).

Sri Lanka is a multi-level governance country; national, provincial and local levels with 21.67 million of population by 2018 (Mid-year Population Estimates  2019). The Government of Sri Lanka introduced a waste management policy in 2007 with the goal “to ensure integrated, economically feasible and environmentally sound solid waste management practices for the country at the national provincial and local level” (Karunarathne, 2015). The local government is the principal responsible agency for waste management.

The annual municipal waste generation of the country is approximately 2.6 million tonnes (Kaza et al., 2018) . Regardless of the different attempts and involvement of various actors, there have been failures in implementation (Fernando, 2019). Local governments collected only 27% of the garbage while the rest was disposed at the point of the creation (Basnayake et al., 2019). Approximately 75% of the collected garbage was disposed using open dumping, causing severe environmental, socio-economic, and political problems (Karunarathne, 2015). For example, the collapse of the garbage dump at Meethotamulla, Colombo on 14th April 2017 caused 32 deaths, with eight people missing. Approximately 1000 people were displaced and 146 houses destroyed (Samarasinghe, 2017).

The purpose of my research is to analyse the factors that contribute to the implementation gap and identify potential measures for better execution of waste management policy in Sri Lanka. This study makes an original contribution to the literature regarding public policy implementation and waste management in Sri Lanka by providing a framework for understanding policy implementation failure in Sri Lanka. The study findings have implications for public policy in Sri Lanka and elsewhere in the developing world.

My study uses a qualitative research approach to gain an in-depth understanding of the challenges of policy implementation in waste management in Sri Lanka. Statistical evidence collected from secondary sources also will be used to analyse institutional capacity. I will use an embedded type of two case studies, involving Kaduwela Municipal Council and Ambalangoda Pradeshiya Sabhawa. Both primary and secondary data will be used; primary data will be collected through in-depth interviews and focus group discussions.


Basnayake, B. F. A., Popuri, S., Visvanathan, C., Jayatilake, A., Weerasoori, I., & Ariyawansha, R. T. K. (2019). Concerted initiative for planned management of municipal solid waste in target provinces in Sri Lanka. Journal of Material Cycles and Waste Management, 21(3), 691-704. doi:10.1007/s10163-018-0815-5

Fernando, R. L. S. (2019). Solid waste management of local governments in the Western Province of Sri Lanka: An implementation analysis. Waste Management, 84, 194-203.

Karunarathne, L. (2015). Municipal Solid Waste Management (MSWM) in Sri Lanka. Paper presented at the 1st National Symposium on Real Estate Management and Valuation 2015, Department of Estate Management and Valuation, Faculty of Management Studies and Commerce, University of Sri Jayewardenepura.

Kaza, S., Yao, L., Bhada-Tata, P., & Van Woerden, F. (2018). WHAT A WASTE 2.0: A Global Snapshot of Solid Waste Management to 2050. Retrieved from

Mid-year Population Estimates  (2019). Battaramulla, Sri Lanka: Deaprtment of Census and Statistics Retrieved from

Minelgaitė, A., & Liobikienė, G. (2019). Waste problem in European Union and its influence on waste management behaviours. Science of The Total Environment, 667, 86-93. doi:

Samarasinghe, V. (2017). Three months after the Meethotamulla disaster in Sri Lanka. Retrieved from