JIS News

The Ministry of Land and Environment is to develop a sustained programme to dispose of used lead acid batteries in an environmentally sound manner.
Donovan Stanberry, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Land and Environment, has said that the Ministry and several public and private sector entities were currently determining ways to bring on stream control mechanisms and relevant regulations to handle the safe disposal of used lead acid batteries.
“We hope to roll out very shortly a more sustained programme,” he disclosed at the official launch of the 2005 Used Lead Acid Battery (ULAB) Project at the Tom Redcam Library in Kingston, yesterday (June 6).
As it now stands, there is no sustained programme to dispose of used lead acid batteries. The launch of the 2005 ULAB Project therefore seeks to address the issue temporarily over a six-month period, ending in November.
During the period, a collection drive has been planned for three months, from June to August 31, and a public education campaign for the remainder of the period.
Collection for reduced volumes of used lead acid batteries will be facilitated from September to November.
In terms of funding, the project is being assisted by participating government entities such as the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA), the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), the Ministries of Health and Transport and Works, and Jamaica Customs, along with several private sector entities, including Tropical Battery Company Limited and Automotive Power Company Limited.
The project will not only be targeting batteries used in automobiles but also those used in cell towers and uninterrupted power supply (UPS) units.
Mr. Stanberry said that the Ministry and NEPA were giving priority attention to hazardous waste management, which included used lead acid batteries.
“The ULAB project is only one example of our interventions in this area. We will be calling on our partners to collaborate with us as we seek to address other categories of hazardous waste, including electronic waste, cell phone batteries and used oil,” he informed.
Meanwhile, private sector partners, representing over 90 per cent of the market involved in the importation and distribution of lead acid batteries, expressed their full support for the project as well as subsequent plans for a permanent disposal programme.
Speaking on behalf of the sector, Philip Green, Acting General Manager of the Automotive Power Company Limited said that their commitment to the exercise involved underwriting the cost of activities, which included collecting, packaging and exporting all components picked up during the project.
“Our commitment does not stop with the clean-up phase of the project. We view it as the first stage of an ongoing activity to have in place more long term solutions for the removal of used lead acid batteries from the island,” he said.
“We insist and will work assiduously to ensure that after the project, we will see proper regulation and control mechanisms put in place so as not to regress to our present situation of uncontrolled disposal of the used lead acid.
Minister of Local Government, Community Development and Sport, Portia Simpson Miller, who also attended the launch, said that the project was a tribute to the shared vision of the Ministries and the private sector.
“This marks a significant moment in the nation’s effort to protect the nation’s health and the environment from the adverse effects of the improper use and disposal of batteries,” she said.Mrs. Simpson Miller appealed to communities to become fully involved in the project, stressing that persons should report instances of dumped lead acid batteries.
The support of the private sector along with the relevant public sector parties, culminated in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding outlining commitments to the project.

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