Problem identification:

During heavy rainy & stormy conditions, there’s a tendency for environmental pollution, when the country’s drainage system gets blocked while garbage gets carried away with floods. The drainage system gets blocked when the size of the garbage gets bigger and the size of the underground ditch holes fail to carry them.


Problem Analysis:

There’s an indirect link between the environmental pollution and heavy rainy and stormy conditions, which may eventually result in affecting a country’s ecological system as well. Good examples could be visible impact on the environment due to weather conditions in Sri Lanka at present and Katrina aftermath in United States.

Heavy rains and storms can be disastrous at times when some areas get flooded. This might cause a mild impact on slope areas as storm water will flow down slopes. But we cannot conclude that slope areas are safe from environmental disasters during such conditions. Soil erosion takes place in slope areas resulting in catastrophic landslides subsequently. This is practically how garbage gets carried away and blocks drainage systems.

The impact on drainage systems due to floods usually takes place in plain areas. Poorly planned and built drainage systems are the reasons for this hassle. Other than drainage systems, there’s a hassle when things get carried away to and from houses and usable water reserves become unusable.

A blocked drainage system and a flooded area can cause many potential environmental and ecological issues. Displacement of garbage, Vermin and pest issues, threats of plagues and epidemics etc.

Vermin & pest issues could be mosquitoes, mice & wasps carrying plagues and diseases. Apart from diseases carried by pests and vermin, consumption of polluted and unusable water can cause health issues as well.

Solution criteria:

Measures have been taken, but yet not effective to properly manage drainage and garbage disposal. Current urban flood management systems in Sri Lanka have largely focused upon flood water retention and irrigation to get rid of floods area-wise. Sewer and drainage systems require large investments.

Limitations in the present solution for drainage systems as flood management systems are as follows.

  • No proper area-wise control, leading to flood water getting stuck in one place.
  • No proper garbage disposal system in case of contingencies like floods
  • No efficient maintenance systems in case of floods

If the above limitations can be addressed effectively, we can implement a good flood management system. In achieving this, the overall support will be required comprising citizens. This will help to minimize the problems in garbage disposal & drainage.

Solution Suggestions:

  • Undertaking standard community-wise control procedures like 5S
  • Islandwide sewage and drainage planning to be undertaken urban-wise.
  • Outsourcing disaster management

Careful and non impulsive disposal and management of garbage and drainage could give better solutions to the problem at hand. Sewer and drainage systems require large investments. Investments and maintenance costs can be reduced by planning and operating the systems more efficiently by incorporating innovative solutions and it’s wiser to carefully consider & reconcile where to invest.

Solution Evaluation:

Undertaking standard community-wise control procedures like 5S will help to reduce annual percentage of garbage disposal which will ensure proper garbage management & safety. This is a DIY (Do it yourself) technique with a minimum govt. spending on garbage management. Public and business investments should be carefully considered for environmental risk by each party. This must involve some level of govt. spending on drainage management like how the drainage be placed in case of floods.

Overall support of the public, media and business will be required to effectively implement 5S. Because in the end public will be responsible for their own garbage.

5S system at a glance

Sorting: Keep only essential items. Everything else is stored or discarded.

Straightening or Setting in Order: There should be a place for everything and everything should be in its place.

Sweeping or Shining or Cleanliness (Systematic Cleaning): Maintaining cleanliness should be part of the daily work – not an occasional activity initiated when things get too messy.

Standardizing: Work practices should be consistent and standardized. Everyone should know exactly what his or her responsibilities are for adhering to the first 3 S’s.

Sustaining the discipline: Maintain and review standards. Once the previous 4 S’s have been established, they become the new way to operate. Maintain focus on this new way and do not allow a gradual decline back to the old ways.

Safety: It is reasonable to assume that a properly planned and executed 5S program will inherently improve workplace safety, but some argue that explicitly including this sixth S ensures that safety is given primary consideration.

This option is easy to implement and most governments might rely on this option as it is feasible for them to implement. This will however reduce annual percentage of garbage disposal by a significant amount if 100% to 70% compliance can be achieved. But practically overall compliance to 5S cannot be expected in local culture. This is a drawback of this option.

Islandwide sewage and drainage planning if undertaken urban-wise will help to build a long term effective and efficient drainage system in Sri Lanka. An island wide drainage system requires high level of coupling between areas in order to carry out urban-wise drainage planning. This requires decentralized disaster management centres for each potential area to assess risk and redesign and rebuild drainage. Some level of 5S may also help in this option to reduce annual garbage disposal.

This option is effective in managing an efficient drainage system. This will include less public involvement and high govt. spending. Furthermore this option is time consuming and requires better management control and review through out the project. But if implemented the benefits are long term and sustainable.

Outsourcing disaster management is another option for a govt. to better manage flood conditions and all related environmental issues evaluated by transaction risk and transaction cost. A govt. can decide on this if it lacks the expertise in disaster management. If outsourced a nation can obtain benefits from a disaster management system introduced by a specialized organization which uses technology to manage and forecast disaster. DHI is such an advanced technology widely used for Forecasting of Floods in Europe


DHI is the leading supplier of flood forecasting systems world-wide. A market position obtained through strategic research and development efforts and an internationally oriented consultancy business.

One of the world’s most advanced forecasting systems is currently being developed for the Environment Agency in East Anglia, England and will cover an area corresponding to approx. 20% of England and Wales. Within this system weather information, incl. radar data, will be integrated with DHI’s numerical model MIKE 11, and the entire system will be operated by using advanced Internet technology. DHI won the job in international competition and the job is carried out in collaboration with the U.K. based consultancy company WS Atkins.

Advantages of outsourcing disaster management

  1. Cost Savings- The costs associated with in-house disaster management is always higher than the cost of an outside service provider
  2. Quality services- A service provider will always look to give the best of services since their reputation is at stake.
  3. Access to specialized skills- Any third party service provider will be expert at the service that it provides.
  4. Contractual Obligation- The liability of a service provider is higher than that of an in-house employee.
  5. Staffing issues- By outsourcing a non-core function, a business avoids all the headache associated with recruiting and hiring staff for such non-core function.
  6. Risk Mitigation- Because of the talent pool available at the service provider’s end and because of all the experiences it would have gained by way of servicing, it would be in a much better position to counter any kind of risks related with disaster management.
  7. Rig competition and benefits to economy- When disaster management is outsourced govt. can rig competition for disaster management and create new business opportunities. This will eradicate monopolies created when outsourced to one business organization.

Pitfalls of outsourcing disaster management

  1. Linguistic barriers- It may lead to low quality call handling. This concern is evidently higher in call centre functions that are off shored. People find the the linguistic features such as accent, word use and phrases that might be very different and hence in-understandable.
  2. profits outflow from the country- This happens when disaster management is outsourced to a foreign country
  3. Lack of quality in services as it creates monopolies.


After analyzing the above 3 options, it is evident that it isn’t possible to achieve a perfectly sustainable garbage & drainage management system during flood seasons. An option which is ideal for Sri Lanka would be in-house development of an islandwide drainage system for efficient drainage in flood seasons and implementation of 5S to manage garbage disposal.




  1. hey dude.. is this ur project work??? looks gud maaann…!!

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