Six elephants dead after eating plastic at Sri Lanka rubbish landfill
Villagers in a Sri Lankan town are calling for improvements to a rubbish dump after at least six wild elephants died from eating toxic plastic waste.
Residents of Deegawapi in the Amparai region are also concerned the giant creatures are encroaching on their farmland and making families feel unsafe.
Drone footage shows a heard of elephants eating the man-made mixture at the dump, which lacks fencing or walls.
Video from the ground also shows elephants picking up food from the vast tip.
It is believed six elephants have so far died from ingesting polyethylene – the main compound in disposable plastics – while searching for food scraps, according to Veterinary surgeon Dr. Nihal Pushpakumara from the Department of Wildlife Conservation in Amparai.
The waste is brought from the nearby areas of Akkaraipattu, Sammanthurai and Kalmunai and is simply covered with soil once dumped.
Residents of the surrounding areas have also said they feel unable to leave their homes in the late afternoon once the elephants arrive at the dump.
The Pradeshiya Sabha municipality has now vowed to build a fence to keep the elephants away from the landfill after complaints from villagers.
The footage was filmed on April 24.