CEA says that the imports were illegal and had no licenses for such imports and therefore need to be re-exported immediately.
CEA officials had inspected some of the containers at the Port and determined that they contained waste and thereby decided to call for the re-exporting of the used mattresses.
But the owner of the consignment, Ceylon Metal Processing Corporation (Pvt) Ltd on Friday dismissed claims that the containers consisted of waste and had written to the CEA and the Consumer Protection Unit of the Customs for an inquiry.
He said his company was involved in a business with Hayleys Free Zone Ltd of what is known as a ‘resource recovery’ business and were involved in the import of ‘used mattresses, carpets and rugs’ to Sri Lanka from which the resources, mostly metal is extracted and re-exported.
The CEA has taken measures to sterilize the area in which imported waste containers have been kept at the Colombo Port, a senior CEA official said.
A private nanotechnology company will carry out this process known as ozone sterilizing until the containers are shipped back.
At present, 111 containers of clinical and hazardous waste which had been imported from UK currently are lying at the Colombo Port.
The Environmental Ministry in the United Kingdom was in touch with its Sri Lankan counterpart to unravel the mystery of 100 containers piled up at the Colombo Port for more than a year, reportedly containing waste from Britain.
One of the controversial containers being inspected in the Colombo Port
The move came as the Finance Ministry claimed that the containers consisted of mixed waste material and were imported in contravention of an international convention; but the owner of the consignment disputing and claiming that the containers only had ‘used mattresses, rugs and carpets’.