JIS News

The National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) is appealing to the public to report stockpiles of 10 or more used lead acid automotive batteries in their communities.
The appeal comes against the background of the recently launched Used Lead Acid Battery Project, which involves collaboration between the government and the private sector to minimise the threat posed to public health and the environment through improper disposal of used lead acid batteries.
Persons are being invited to call the NSWMA hotline at 754-5949 to provide information on the locations referred to as ‘red areas’.
In an interview with JIS News, Ann- Marie Rodriquez, Director of Enforcement and Compliance at the National Solid Waste Management Authority said that more than 10 calls had been received from companies and persons via the hotline, which was set up on May 22.
These calls have led to the collection of more than 200 batteries either for pick up or drop off at collection centres. “It is important to us that the public responds with the information so that we can organise our collection strategy and process,” she urged.
The NSWMA is responsible for clearing batteries in the red areas from June to August 31, under the six-month ULAB project. Collection of reduced volumes will be facilitated for an additional three months from September to the end of the project in November.
“The NSWMA will be lending its trucking crew to collect used lead acid batteries from the red areas. Industrial Metal and Salvage Limited, which is a private sector firm involved in recycling, has provided protective equipment to the NSWMA to assist in the collection of the batteries,” Mrs. Rodriquez revealed.
To date, the NSWMA has identified 66 red areas with more than 577 batteries associated with these locations.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Rodriquez cautioned persons not to attempt to remove stockpiles of batteries, noting that trained personnel from the NSWMA or the private sector would undertake this task.
She however, still encouraged persons who had a few batteries to take them to the nearest collection depots. There are 24 confirmed sites for drop off and the number of sites is expected to increase to over 30.
The geographical distribution of the collection sites are as follows: four in Kingston and St. Andrew; two each in St. Catherine, St. James and St. Ann; three each in Clarendon, St. Thomas and Hanover, one each in Manchester, St. Elizabeth, Trelawny, Westmoreland and Portland. “There is at least one collection point available to citizens in all parishes,” Mrs. Rodriques said.
Sites will be advertised in the media and on the website, www.nswma.gov.jm/ulab.
The ULAB initiative began November 2004, when the NSWMA along with the Ministry of Land and Environment, Ministry of Health and Natural Resource Conservation Authority (NRCA) and members of the private sector engaged in a series of meetings as stakeholders, and sought to begin an intensive collection drive for used lead acid batteries, which were being indiscriminately disposed in communities island wide.
A major objective of the project is to educate persons about the threat to health and the environment from the improper disposal of the items.
Effects include lead absorption by humans through inhalation and indigestion, which leads to poisoning. Children, who absorb lead five times more than adults, can suffer impaired mental and physical development resulting in poor academic performance and deficiency in motor skills.