Guidelines for used batteries management underway
Amid the health hazards associated with its maintenance, the federal government has teamed up with European Union, German Cooperation to develop national policy and guidelines for environmentally sound management of used batteries in the country.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Environment, Ibukun Udusote revealed this during a workshop in Abuja, said recyclable batteries is used for electricity in renewable energy and in automobile sectors.
Udusote also explained that the forum was aimed at creating awareness for regulators and policymakers to brainstorming on environmental and health impacts of used batteries and chart a way forward.
According to her, to address its menace, the government has put in place a pilot scheme which would allow hazardous wastes that we do not have the local capacity to handle to be exported to countries that can manage them.
“It, therefore, behooves on us all as a nation to ensure that these wastes are managed properly, such recycling in order to have a clean environment and achieve maximum economic benefit without jeopardising the lives of the citizens.”
She maintained that Nigeria is a party to Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, which includes eliminating, used batteries in a manner that will safeguard the environment.
Earlier, Director, Pollution Control and Environmental Health, Charles Ikeah, noted that the country is facing serious challenges in handling huge quantities of used batteries coming from motorised and renewable energy sector.
He added that there is need to put up policy and guidelines on the sound collection, transportation and storage of used batteries for a player in the sector, stressing that unsound management will no longer business as usual.
Contributing, environment expert, Oluyomi Banjo, called on the government to take inventory in order to put a mechanism for storage, recycling, and the management of battery and hazardous wastes.
Meanwhile, the government, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has put structures in place, aimed at implementing sound management of chemicals.
Speaking at a workshop organised by the ministry in association with UNEP in Abuja, the Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar said that chemicals have formed integral and very valuable part of our lives and lifestyles, explaining that SMC is a tool to achieve sustainable development.
Based on this, he also argued that the development of dangerous chemicals has led to severe pollution problems with profound impacts on human health, wildlife, and the environment, instead of saving the lives of citizens.
“We need to work more beyond sectoral mandates to achieve the objective of sound management of chemicals in our country as well as develop long term plans that will shift to greener and circular economies, sustainable chemistry, and cleaner development.”
According to him, hazard caused by inappropriate handling and use of chemicals has never been worse than now, stressing that the impact, especially on the children has never deadlier in the country.
He, therefore, added that the government intended to strengthen and enhance institutional capacity for chemicals and waste management with a view to facilitating the implementation of Basel, Rotterdam, Stockholm, and others at the national level.
On her part, Odusote explained, this project could not have come at a better time than now, considering the renewed global efforts towards sound management of chemicals and waste in the post-2020 era.
Odusote also noted that at the regional level, ECOWAS summit in 2018, Decision No.18 on the establishment of a coordination mechanism for the management of chemicals and hazardous waste is currently implementing the decision.
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