X-Press Pearl disaster:
By Ifham Nizam
Auditor General Chulantha Wickramaratne has called for a full investigation into the process of obtaining compensation for environmental damage caused by the sinking of the X-Press Pearl ship last year, according to sources.Meanwhile, Environmental Scientist Hemantha Withanage said Sri Lanka could claim as much as USD 10 billion as compensation.
Laboratory tests conducted on samples of plastic pellets collected from the beach had revealed a high concentration of harmful chemical compounds such as Bisphenol and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, Withanage said.
“Both these chemical compounds remain in the environment for a long time, resulting in bioaccumulation. The scope of our tests was limited due to financial constraints, but there can be more such toxic chemical compounds in the debris. People are not aware of the danger,” he told journalists.
Withanage had also spent time and resources to rescue the crew on board the distressed vessel, douse the fire, and mitigate enviro
“The MEPA and the AG’s Department have not taken legal action and we may ultimately lose the opportunity to do so,” he alleged, calling for a Presidential Commission of Inquiry to investigate the matter. He said two petitions had been filed in the Appeal Court and another petition in the Supreme Court over the X-Press Pearl disaster.
The ill-fated ship was carrying 81 containers of dangerous goods and contained 25 tons of nitric acid.The affected area encompasses 746 km from Mannar to Kirinda Hambantota