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Socio-Cultural Aspects of Solid Waste Crisis in Sri Lanka


M.T.M. Mahees

University of Colombo, LK
About M.T.M.
Department of Sociology, Faculty of Arts
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The contemporary societies are facing various environmental issues and challenges due to massive development projects, changing consumption pattern and environmentally harmful attitude. The present human culture continues to dominate and conquer all aspects of nature in an alarming manner. As a result, the so called modern or postmodern man has to experience the extreme climate change, natural disasters, loss of biodiversity, human-wild life conflicts, waste crisis and environmental poverty. The waste crisis (generation, health risk, management and its politics) is one of the leading and threatening socio-environmental problem to Sri Lanka. It is important to understand the hidden and subjective cause of solid waste crisis of Sri Lanka through sociological analysis of socio-cultural factors. The main objective of this paper is to analysis the social and cultural aspects of solid waste generation and disposal in Sri Lanka. The paper is based on the study carried out in four DS divisions of Kandy District and existing secondary data and related literature. The quantitative and qualitative data were collected from shop-owners (n=150) and households (n=200) through 350 questionnaire survey and 30 in-depth interviews. This paper has focused more on the qualitative aspects of solid waste crisis of Sri Lankan by exploring the underlining socio-cultural causes of the crisis. The symbolic consumption pattern and its impact on rapid waste generation, higher degree of food waste and development of throwaway society, the cultural notion of dirt and its link with solid waste issue, social class and waste management, socio-ethnic belief and practices and gender aspects of waste generation and disposal are the key sociological factors that found be determining the solid waste crisis of Sri Lanka.

How to Cite: Mahees, M. T. M. (2018). Socio-Cultural Aspects of Solid Waste Crisis in Sri Lanka. Colombo Journal of Multi-disciplinary Research, 3(2), 63–86. DOI:
Published on 01 Nov 2018.
Peer Reviewed


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