JIS News

The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) has issued 25 permits to automotive battery dealers across the island, in the agency’s efforts to widen the net of collecting used lead acid batteries.
Paulette Kolbusch, Manager of NEPA’s Regulations, Standards and Guidelines Branch told JIS News that the permits were issued as part of the Used Lead Acid Battery (ULAB) Project.
Slated to last over a period of six months, the ULAB Project, which concludes next month, is a joint initiative between several government agencies and representatives of the lead acid battery sector, with the objective being to collect used lead batteries for export to overseas recycling facilities.
Mrs. Kolbusch said that in respect of the 25 sites that have been cited as ‘drop off centres’ for the batteries, “we advised those who would be participating, whether they have indoor or outdoor storage, how they should collect and handle them because the batteries contain acid”.
The Manager said given that acid could be classified as a hazardous material, the centres issued with permits were also advised as to how best to stack the batteries in their storage areas.
In the handling of the batteries, she added that, “the important thing is that the battery should not be cracked or broken in any way, as there is the possibility that leaking can occur, hence that has to be checked first”.
Should a battery be leaking, Mrs. Kolbusch informed that it was best to place it in a container, preferably plastic, not metal, as the acid would react with metallic objects or substances. She warned that there were serious health risks persons faced if they exposed themselves to cracked or broken used lead acid batteries. The NEPA Manager indicated that the high levels of lead in the batteries could in fact, contaminate the air, water, or soil.
“The lead itself, by accumulating in the [human] system, it is hard to get rid of it. It tends to be irreversible and can lead to damage to the kidney, liver, and bones,” she explained, adding that continued exposure could also cause stunted physical and mental development in children.
Under the ULAB Project’s drive to collect the thousands of batteries lying idly about the country that pose serious environmental and health risks, Mrs. Kolbusch said an estimated 9,000 batteries have been collected to date.
Once collected, the batteries are exported to Trinidad and Tobago and Israel to be processed and recycled. Already, a shipment of 7,000 batteries was sent to Trinidad and Tobago last month.
According to NEPA, there are 25 drop off centres across the island in 13 parishes, except St. Mary.
In Kingston and St. Andrew, the centres are Automotive Power Limited on Arlington Avenue, Auto Max Esso Service Centre on South Camp Road, Automotive Power Limited on Elletson Road, KACS Auto Sales and Service on Constant Spring Road, and Auto Max Esso Service Centre on Constant Spring Road.
For St. Catherine, the centres are located at Auto Max Service Centre at Braeton Parkway in Portmore Pines and Jones Battery Company Limited in Rosehall, Linstead. Drop off centres for used lead batteries are located in Clarendon at Mack Chem Limited at Palmer’s Cross, Michael Kenny’s Esso gas station at Main Street in May Pen, and Bill’s Gas/Shagoury’s Vibrated Block and Crushed Stones Industry on Paisley Avenue in May Pen. In St. Thomas, persons can leave their batteries at D& D Tyres in Morant Bay or at Daley’s Auto on Lyssons Road. The drop off centre in Manchester is Tyre World on Brumalia Road in the town.
Residents in Trelawny can bring their batteries to Almond Tree Auto at Cornwall Street in Falmouth, while those living in Portland can use the drop off centre located at the Petcom Service Centre situated at Bryan’s Bay in Port Antonio. In St. Ann, there are two points – Lydford Service Centre in Lydford, and Bent’s Battery in Ocho Rios. In the western end of the island, St. James has two collection centres – Desi Whittingham and Sons in Montego Bay and the Anchovy Petcom station in Anchovy. In St. Elizabeth, there is Roger’s Esso located in Mountainside, and Santa’s Battery in Santa Cruz.
Hanover has one drop centre, Wright’s Shell in Hopewell, while there are three in Westmoreland, Rodmox Auto Parts in Savanna-la-Mar, H.C.L. & E Service Centre in Grange Hill, and Motor Citi Auto Parts on West End Road, Negril.