Rathupaswela water contamination, Sri Lanka

Venigross Gloves Factory is located in Rathupaswela (about 17 km from Colombo). The factory caused water contamination, affecting twelve villages. People demand clean drinking water.


Venigross Gloves Factory is located in Rathupaswela (about 17 km from Colombo). The factory has caused water contamination in a more than 3 km radius, affecting twelve villages. People affected by the factory demand clean drinking water. Their well water in fact has become acidic and people believe that it was due to the release of acidic effluent.

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Basic Data
NameRathupaswela water contamination, Sri Lanka
CountrySri Lanka
SiteRathupaswela, Weliweriya
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Water treatment and access to sanitation (access to sewage)
Specific CommoditiesWater
Project Details and Actors
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Potential Affected Population5,000
Start Date2013
Company Names or State EnterprisesVenigross Ltd
Relevant government actorsCentral Environmental Authority (Sri Lanka)

Board of Investment (Sri Lanka)
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersCentre for Environmental Justice (Sri Lanka)

Friends of the Earth (Sri Lanka)
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups MobilizingLocal ejos
Religious groups
Forms of MobilizationStreet protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Groundwater pollution or depletion
Potential: Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Violations of human rights, Specific impacts on women, Loss of livelihood
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseDeaths
Violent targeting of activists
On August 1st 2013 local residents held a demonstration and the government deployed the military and killed 3 people, including a 17 year old school boy, Akila Dinesh, and many others got wounded
Development of AlternativesStopping water pollution caused by rubber gloves factories
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Nothing has been done, yet, it appears, to solve ground water pollution. There have been demonstrations and legal appeals (2014).
Sources and Materials

Newspaper article on violent incidents at Rathupaswela and Hanwella (2013, 1014) in demonstrations against water pollution by rubber gloves factories
[click to view]

Asian Human Rights Report (see attachment)


Press release from Centre for Environmental Justice (Sri Lanka), CEJ and “Siyane Jalaya Syurakeeme Jana Neguma"

file legal action seeking justice for people suffered by water pollution in Rathupaswala
[click to view]

Friends of the Earth
[click to view]

Interview to Hemantha Withanage in Radio Mundo Real
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Petition in Change.org
[click to view]

Media Links

Large scale complaints in Rathuspaswala in TV news, 2013
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Other Documents

Asian Human Rights Commission Report
[click to view]

The protest at Weliweriya in 2013 over Rathupaswala water contamination Source: http://asianmirror.lk/news/item/14662-controversial-company-not-responsible-for-rathupaswala-water-contamination-cea
[click to view]

Meta Information
Last update06/12/2016