Press release: Establishing Sri Lanka’s First Waste Collection Tracking System

BATTICALOA: With funding from the European Union, UNOPS has partnered with Mobitel Sri Lanka to monitor waste collection in Batticaloa district, Eastern Sri Lanka, for the benefit of nearly 400,000 local residents.

Local authorities in Batticaloa have faced significant challenges in managing waste collection in the district, due to limited monitoring mechanisms and inadequate resources. Improving waste collection is key to reducing the health risks associated with improper garbage disposal, including water contamination and the spread of disease due to increased mosquito breeding. To address this issue, UNOPS joined forces with Mobitel Sri Lanka to support eight local authorities in establishing a user-friendly, modern system to track waste collection — the first of its kind in the country.

This system, called 'M-track,' provides information on indicators such as the location, route, speed, mileage, fuel consumption, and delays of garbage trucks, allowing more efficient staff operations and waste collection.

"Establishing an efficient and sustainable integrated solid waste management system requires appropriate technical solutions, sufficient organisational capacity and co-operation between a wide range of stakeholders," stated Ms. Libuse Soukupova, Head of Cooperation for the EU in Sri Lanka, adding that: "I am delighted that the waste management fleet tracking system is assisting local authorities in Batticaloa in increasing efficiency and productivity while eliminating unauthorized use, wasted time and loss of money."

This initiative was carried out with financial assistance from the European Union, through a €60 million district development programme (EU-SDDP), jointly implemented by six UN agencies including UNOPS. The programme aims to help the Government of Sri Lanka in its effort to promote social and economic development in seven conflict-affected districts.

"The M-track system will help us better monitor waste collection, which has been a  challenge," said a local Development Officer trained on the new system, noting that: "Historical records and mileage reports from garbage trucks will definitely allow us to plan for improved effectiveness of our waste collection system."

Under the EU-SDDP framework, UNOPS is contributing to the broader programme objective of district development through strengthening sustainable environmental management, building and rehabilitating social infrastructure, and building local capacity in Batticaloa, Mannar and Vavuniya districts, to benefit more than 600,000 people.