In the village of Ampara, located east of Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo, two more elephants died after eating the plastic waste in the garbage after the garbage was dumped on an open field.
Sri Lankan environmentalists and veterinarians warned the authorities that 20 elephants died in the region in the last 8 years by eating plastic waste, and that urgent measures should be taken to prevent this situation.
Wildlife Conservation Unit veterinarian Nihal Pushpakumara reported that as a result of the examinations performed on these two more elephants, the animals died after ingesting large and non-degradable plastic waste they found in the garbage. Pushpakumara said that starving elephants died after eating plastic and sharp objects they found in landfills in search of food, because they could not consume anything else.
The residents of Ampara village, who were afraid of elephants roaming around, also stated that their own lives were in danger as they could not repair the damaged fences around the area where the garbage was collected. Keerthi Ranasinghe, who lives in the village of Ampara, said authorities must take action to protect the lives of both elephants and humans.
The large landfill in Palakkad village, Sri Lanka, was established in 2008 with the help of the European Union, and in 2014, due to the bad weather conditions in the region, the electric fences around the area where the garbage was collected were damaged, and the elephants were allowed to enter the landfill because they were not replaced. In 2017, the government announced that the garbage found near the areas where they live would be recycled in order to protect the animals, but the recycling of the garbage has still not started.
It was reported that the number of elephants in Sri Lanka, which was once 14,000 has decreased to 6,000 as a result of the 2011 census. Many of them are killed by hunters or farmers in the region after elephants return to the inhabited areas in search of food after the loss of their natural habitat.