As part of its commitment to supporting the environmentally sound management (ESM) of end-of-life lead batteries in developing countries and those in transition, the International Lead Association (ILA) recently provided support to deliver a Best Available Technique (BAT) workshop at the request of the Government of Ghana.
In the developed world lead batteries are recycled in a closed loop with collection and recycling rates of 99%. However, lead exposure from inappropriate management of lead batteries at the end-of-life is recognized as a significant health and environmental challenge in Africa.
Most of the funding for the workshop was provided by the Swiss based World Resources Forum and it was organized by the Oeko Institute of Germany in partnership with the Ghanaian Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with technical expertise provided by ILA consultant Brian Wilson.
The workshop was divided into two sessions. The first session, comprising of one full day in the classroom, was attended by 30 delegates drawn from EPA Regulatory and Enforcement Agencies in Accra and Tema, safety and occupational health specialists that support the work of the EPA and representatives from the four-leading lead battery recycling companies in Ghana.
During the session, the delegates learnt how ILA’s Benchmarking Assessment Tool (BAT) can be applied during plant inspections to assess the environmental, safety and occupational health performance of any facility involved in used lead battery collection, temporary storage, transportation and recycling.
The second session involved the delegates using the BAT tool to undertake real time inspections of the four main recycling plants in Accra and Tema.
The workshop supplemented another event organized by the UN Environment Program (UNEP) in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment of Burkina Faso where representatives from ten African countries gathered to discuss the environmental, health and socio-economic impacts of used lead battery recycling in the East and West African regions.
“The growth of green energy and vehicle populations in countries such as Ghana has increased the demand for lead batteries as they remain the most reliable and cost effective solution for energy storage. Partnership between local Government, Industry, NGO’s and UNEP represents the best way to ensure that sustainable and environmentally responsible battery recycling becomes the norm everywhere. The International Lead Association is always looking for opportunities to share its expertise and experience to support initiatives that deliver this goal” said Steve Binks, ILA’s Regulatory Affairs Director.
Notes to Editors
About International Lead Association (ILA)
The International Lead Association is the trusted global trade association for the lead industry and its member companies are at the forefront of the mining, smelting, refining and recycling of lead. ILA represents the producers of about 3 million tonnes of lead. The association is working towards a vision of a sustainable global lead industry that is recognised for the positive contribution it makes to society.
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