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Industrial Pollution Control and Approval

The main organization concerned with environment issues is the Central Environment Authority.

Waste Management

Waste generated from the industry could be identified as two categories.

A. General Municipal Waste

B. Hazardous waste (Scheduled waste)


A. Disposing Municipal Waste

General Municipal Waste generated at the industry should be disposed in consultation with the relevant Local Authority (Municipal Council, Urban Council, Pradesheya Sabha).

B. Disposing Hazardous Waste (Scheduled Waste)

As per the Part II of the National Environmental (Protection and Quality) Regulations No.1 of 2008 (Gazette notification No: 1534/18 dated 01.02.2008) Scheduled Waste Management Licence (SWML) should be obtained from the Central Environmental Authority for the Management (Generating, Collecting, Transporting, Storing, Recovering, Recycling or Disposing waste or establishing any site or facility for the disposal) of waste specified in the Schedule VIII of the regulation.

Industries generating the waste listed in scheduled VIII should obtain a license from the CEA to manage such waste (This schedule can be downloaded from the web site

Obtaining a Scheduled Waste Management License:

1. Submit the duly filled application form with the following documents (application can be collected from the CEA or downloaded from the web site

a. Proposed waste management plan of the industry

b. Copy of the Survey Plan

c. Agreement with the disposer and disposal mechanism.

d. EIA approval / Site recommendation obtained form CEA to establish the Industry or any such approval

2. Pay the inspection fees to the CEA 

3. Site inspection carried out by the CEA to confirm compliance.

4. Pay the License fees to the CEA. Scheduled Waste Management License is granted subject to conditions. This has to be renewed annually.

Regulation for control of pollution from industries

Industries or activities have been classified as High Polluting (A category), Medium Polluting (B category) or Low Polluting (C category) by the Central Environmental Authority (CEA). All these categories of industries are required to obtain a site recommendation prior to siting of the industry from the CEA and an Environmental Protection Licence (EPL) once operation commences.

1. Site Recommendation

Site recommendation procedure is a tool to assess and manage pollution from prescribed activities at the beginning of the activity. All industries and activities listed in the Gazette Notification No. 1533/16 dated 25.01.2008 are required to apply for a site recommendation from the CEA prior to siting the industry at the proposed site.

There is an application (Questionnaire for Initial Environmental Impact Identification) which could be obtained at the CEA Head Office or Provincial Offices which has to be completely filled with the required details and submitted to the CEA with the required inspection fee. An inspection of the proposed site will then be carried out by CEA officers and the site recommendation will be issued or rejected as the case may be.

2. Environmental Protection Licence

Emissions from industrial activities are mainly controlled by the Environmental Protection Licence (EPL) issued by CEA under the provisions in the National Environmental Act (NEA).

EPL regulations are in the form of a Gazette Notification No. 1534/18 of 01.02.2008 and possession of an EPL is a legal requirement for operating of a prescribed industrial activity.

Industries/activities which require an EPL are prescribed under 3 lists in the Gazette Notification No. 1533/16 of 25.01.2008. In this Gazette industries are listed as category A, B or C according to their pollution potential. EPL for high and medium level polluting activities (list A & B) are issued by CEA and EPL for low level polluting activity (list C) are issued by relevant Local Government Authorities (L/A) under the delegation of powers by CEA. If the prescribed activity/ industry is registered under section 17 of the Board of Investment (BOI) Act, the EPL is issued by the BOI with CEA concurrence.

To obtain an EPL for an industry, wastewater and air emissions to the environment as well as noise has to be controlled according to the standards stipulated by the CEA. Wastewater discharge, noise and ambient air quality standards are in Gazette Notifications No. 1534/18, No. 924/12 of 23.05.1996 and No. 1562/22 of 15.08.2008 respectively. There are also air emission standards which requires to be met.

Steps for obtaining an EPL

1. Submission of an application to the relevant EPL granting institute (CEA, BOI or L/A) with required documents.

2. Payment of the inspection fee.

3. Inspection carried out by CEA/BOI/Local Authority as applicable.

4. Pay the licence fee on the request of the relevant Authority (CEA, BOI or Local Authority).

5. Issuance of the EPL by the CEA, BOI or L/A.

“A” category activity licences are issued for one year and require to be renewed annually. An application for renewal has to be sent to the CEA 3 months prior to the expiry date of the licence. EPL fee for the “A” type activity is Rs. 7,500/- (excluding government taxes) for a 1 year period.

“B” and “C” category activity licences are issued for three years and application for renewal has to be sent to the relevant authority 3 months prior to the expiry date of the licence. EPL fee for type “A” and “B” activity is Rs. 6,000/- and Rs. 4,000/- rupees (excluding government taxes) respectively, for a 3 years period.


Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process has been introduced for the purpose of evaluation of beneficial and adverse impacts of new projects on the environment. The legal framework for the EIA process in Sri Lanka has been laid down in the National Environmental Act (NEA) in 1988. Projects coming under the coastal zone as defined in the Coast Conservation Act are excluded from the NEA. EIA approvals for projects within the coastal zone are granted by the Coast Conservation Department. The EIA process under the NEA is summarized below;

1. EIA process is mandated only for large scale development projects or projects which are located in environmental sensitive areas. The types of projects which require EIA have been prescribed in the Gazette (Gazette No. 772/22 of 24.06.1993).

2. EIA process is implemented through designated “Project Approving Agencies (PAA)” led by the Central Environmental Authority (CEA). The PAAs are EIA administrative agencies that are responsible for guiding the EIA for projects and for issuing EIA approval or rejection. A single PAA is appointed as the appropriate PAA for each EIA by the CEA.

3. Any prescribed project submitted for approval requires to submit either an Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) report or Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report. The prescribed projects which do not have complex environmental issues require an IEE report while the projects which involve complex environmental issues require an EIA report.

4. The EIA reports are required to be open for public inspection and comment for a mandatory period of 30 days.

EIA process :

(a) The project proponent needs to submit some preliminary information about the project to the CEA, in order to initiate the EIA / IEE process. The project proponent could submit the preliminary information through a Basic Information Questionnaire which could be obtained from the CEA Head Office or Provincial/District Offices or downloaded from the CEA website.

(b) EIA / IEE process involves 6 major steps; (i) screening (ii) scoping (iii) preparation of the EIA / IEE report (iv) review of the report (by the public and the PAA) (v) approval with terms and conditions or rejection with reasons (vi) post approval monitoring. The step wise process has been defined in the EIA regulations which have been published in the Gazette No. 772/22 of 24.06.1993.

(c) The PAA is responsible for implementation of each step of the process except preparation of EIA / IEE reports. The project proponent or consultants hired by the project proponent is responsible for preparation of the EIA / IEE report.

(d) The time allowed for the PAA for each step has been stipulated in the Gazette provided that the information submitted by the project proponent is sufficient to proceed. There is no time limit given for preparation of the EIA / IEE report by the project proponent.

(e) EIA regulations under the NEA are applicable only for projects which are located outside the coastal zone.