May 20, 2022: The International Lead Association said on May 3 it welcomed new procedures published by Ghana’s government to improve battery recycling operations in the West African nation.
The new standard operating procedures (SOPs) were developed in cooperation with organizations including the ILA, Battery Council International, EUROBAT and with the Sustainable Recycling Industries and the Material Stewardship Program of the global lead and lead battery industries.
Lydia Essuah, director of policy, planning, monitoring and evaluation at Ghana’s Ministry for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, said: “We will make low-quality battery recycling a thing of the past in Ghana. Lead acid battery recycling is a lucrative industry, so we expect all recyclers to meet the technical guidelines.”
Selina Amoah, a deputy director at Ghana’s Environmental Protection Agency, said the SOPs and technical guidelines had been drawn up to ensure they could be widely understood and implemented.
The SOPs would also serve “as an additional tool for regulators to promote sound practices in the sector, which will lead to reduction in the risks to the environment and public health”, Amoah said.
According to the ILA, improper recycling of lead acid batteries remains a problem in many low- and middle-income countries, causing pollution, with potentially serious impacts on the environment and human health.
ILA regulatory affairs director Steve Binks said: “We are positive about the developments and hope that the transition to a sound battery recycling industry will continue. Other countries face similar challenges, and we hope that the SOPs will not only be used in Ghana, but also shared with, and applied in other settings.”
The SOPs, which are available online, were developed over 18 months in a project coordinated by Sustainable Recycling Industries and experts from the Mountain Research Institute, the Ghana National Cleaner Production Center and the Oeko-Institut — guided by the Ghana’s EPA, Factory Inspectorate Department and other regional and international experts.
In 2020, a global alliance of lead and battery associations condemned all informal lead battery recycling in response to a report launched by Unicef, on July 30, which said a third of the world’s children were victims of lead poisoning.