Waste management experts have proposed adoption of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) strategy to protect environment from unused car and solar batteries. The EPR is an environmental protection strategy that makes manufacturer of the product responsible for entire life cycle of the product and especially for the take back, recycling and final disposal of the product.
Gathered in Dar es Salaam for one-day meeting for presenting the EPR concept of Waste Lead-Acid Batteries (WLABs) to the government and other relevant stakeholders, experts argued that the EPR approach was crucial since such wastes need proper handling when collecting, storing and disposing. The meeting, held on Tuesday, was organized by the Pure Earth organization. The Managing Director of Chilambo General Trade Company Limited, which deals with electrical waste management, Mr. Gedion Chilambo, said currently telecommunication industry has been a major contributor of such wastes.
His company collects the wastes and stores them at its facility located in Kisarawe district, waiting for recycling that is done abroad. "However, as the country we should look at the issue of collection management of these hazardous wastes because if we continue allowing individuals to collect randomly it is dangerous for environment and health," Mr. Chilambo stated.
He noted that the solar batteries, though they help in electrifying rural areas in the country they are very hazardous because they contained lithium ion. He added: "You would find a person who collects these wastes in the streets pours battery liquid acid on earth because he is unaware of detrimental effects of such acid on the environment. Lithium ion, for instance, when poured on land no any plant can grow on that particular land."
Mr. Chilambo argued that if EPR is adopted means the responsibility of collecting such hazardous wastes would be subjected to importers of such products. "EPR is possible in our country, just needed coordination of government entities responsible for environment and controlling imports such as NEMC, TRA and others," he said.
Mr. Gabriel Mruma, the Principal Engineer with the National Environmental Management Council (NEMC), said the new Act on environmental management has a provision that allows to task importers, through the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) after their products cause negative environmental effects. A representative from OK Plast, Mr. Doro Temba, called for effective participation of stakeholders when crafting policies on the environment for them to effectively implement those policies.