Auto service stations unregulated polluters

By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

Automotive service centres in the Western Province are responsible for a significant volume of pollution and are completely unregulated, according to the Central Environmental Authority (CEA).

"When a car is washed, a sizeable amount of oil and grease gets mixed with water, leaving such water unfit for discharge into the environment," CEA, Environmental Pollution Control Unit, Director, Dr. R. M. S. K. Ratnayake told The Island yesterday (26).

Water, oil, battery acid and paint were some of the major effluents that came out of the automotive service centres, Dr. Ratnayake said.

Improper waste management involving inappropriate auto repair pollution disposal may also account for environmental pollution in and around auto repair shops. Examples of generated waste include the replaced auto fluids or the used cleaning solvents.

"These wastes pose a health threat to humans and the environment, if they are spilled or not properly collected and disposed of," he said.

"We have identified more than 1,000 service stations in the country," Ratnayake said.

He stressed that though it was compulsory to take an environment protection license before starting an auto service station in the country; there were many unauthorized service stations.

He said, "Steps are already being taken to rectify the issue."

"We have taken steps to introduce oil recycling to small and large scale service station," he said adding "We have asked them to tie up with oil recyclers immediately."

"We are now drafting guidelines that will be issued to service stations on how to dispose the waste and the environmental safety measures that are to be adopted," he said.

He noted that large or small, once the guidelines were in place the penalties for not following the rules would be stringent.

"If they violate the guidelines the penalty will be the closing of the service centres," Dr. Ratnayake said.

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