Waste batteries of electronic gadgets have been added to the list of e-waste being collected for safe disposal and recycling under an Incentive Payment System.
This means electronic waste collectors could send waste batteries of all types, excluding used lead acid ones though, to the e-waste management satellite handover centre at Agbogbloshie in Accra for payment.
Already, the centre accepts cables and other e-waste under the project dubbed “Recycling and Disposal of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment in an Environmentally Sound Way.”
This came to light yesterday when the Minister of Environment Science and Technology, KwekuAfriyie, paid a working visit to the centre to acquaint himself with work since the addition was introduced on Wednesday.
He also toured the Technical Training Centre on the same premises where informal sector e-waste collectors were being equipped with the appropriate skills to manage e-waste and batteries.
The Incentive Payment System was introduced last year as part of the main project being implemented by the Ministry in collaboration with German Development Cooperation (GIZ) and other partners.
Interacting with the media after a tour of the facility, Mr Afriyie said the collection of waste mixed batteries was because waste from mixed batteries was among the most polluting items that harmed not only the environment, plants, and aquatic life but human life as well.
“Some of the harmful effects of improper dumping of batteries include the release of harmful metals such as mercury, lead and cadmium into the environment, causing soil contamination and water pollution,” he said.
Mr Afriyie said this endangered wildlife and was also hazardous to humans, given that lead and Cadmium had cancerous effects and caused developmental disorders as well as explosion, if not handled well.
He said with more than five million metric tons of Lithium-ion batteries in the world expected to come to their end of life by 2030, there was the need to make adequate preparation to handle their end of life in an environmentally-sound way.
He urged the public not to dump their used batteries along with their domestic waste, but hand them over to e-waste collectors or send them to the collection points, adding that two additional e-waste types, namely CRTs and thermoplastics, would be added to the list by the end of the year.
The Minister said the incentive payment system for defined e-waste types that informed the construction of a handover centre, as well as engagements with all stakeholders, could turn the challenges posed by the waste menace into long-lasting job opportunities for the people.
Explaining the process for purchasing the used batteries, Mr Markus Spitzbart, the E-waste programme Manager of GIZ, said they were weighed and checked after which payments were made through mobile money.
He said since Wednesday when sales started, 50 kilogrammes of batteries had been bought while about 1,000 collectors had been trained since 2019 with the target to train a total of 5,000 by the end of the year.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR