Workshop on Value from Waste: Stakeholder Engagement on Lead-acid Battery Waste Management in Nigeria

24 November 2016 By 

Grp pic for Heinrich Boell Foundation ULAB Workshop 23rd Nov. 2016 Abuja.1

Chanja Datti was at the workshop organized by Heinrich Boell Foundation (HBF) in partnership with Recycling and Economic Development Initiative of Nigeria (REDIN), Oko-Institut e.V. and Green Cycle, which held at Barcelona Hotel, Abuja on the 23rd of November 2016. The workshop had an assemblage of major stakeholders in the waste management sub-sector, which included representatives of National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Federal Ministry of Environment (FME), manufacturers and recyclers. All were brought together to discuss the effects of poor disposal of Used Lead Acid Batteries (ULAB) and the prospects of creating value from them through recycling.

Welcome addresses were given by Christine K, Director, Nigeria office of the Heinrich Boell Foundation, and Dr. Peter Tarfa, Director, Climate Change Department-FME.

Goals of the Stakeholder Engagement

As presented by Maria Yetano Roche, Consultant for Nigeria office of the HBF, the event had the agenda to discuss the following:

  1. What are the health and environmental costs of inaction with regards to pollution and ULAB
  2. What are the opportunities for making the ULAB trade safe and environmentally-sound while keeping it profitable?
  3. Can clean industrial ULAB recycling be viable in Nigeria, as it is abroad?
  4. What are the potentials for supporting the sector through the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) program of Nigeria?
  5. Can lessons be drawn from the efforts taking place in the e-waste sector?
  6. What models have proven successful in similar contexts?
  7. What is the outlook in the solar sector specifically?

1st Presentation: Professor Oladele Osibanjo, Professor of Analytical and Environmental Chemistry, University of Ibadan and President, Waste Management Society of Nigeria.

Topic: An Introduction to impacts of Used Lead-Acid Battery (ULAB) waste in Nigeria, and a case-study: soils impacted by auto battery slag in Ibadan

-         Lead acid batteries (LAB) are the major source of power supply for motor vehicles and trucks, backup power supply for TV and lighting (rural & urban households), and many other devices.

-         Millions of End of life LAB otherwise known as Used Lead Acid Batteries (ULAB) are generated from these sources

-         ULAB are classified as hazardous waste under the Basel Convention.

-         Crude and inefficient recycling of ULAB in Nigeria occurs mainly in the informal sector in major urban centres in Nigeria for the recovery of lead, plastic and sulphuric acid with considerable environmental and human health costs.

-         Lead acid batteries contain corrosive sulphuric acid and large amounts of lead

-         Lead is a highly toxic metal that produces a range of adverse human health effects particularly in children.

-         Exide Battery was the largest auto battery manufacturing factory in West Africa. The factory was located along Iwo Road in Lagelu Local Government Area of Ibadan, Oyo State during the early 80s and closed in the late 90s when the company went into liquidation. Slag in large quantities was the major solid waste from the factory and this was dumped indiscriminately in nearby farm lands and later in an abandoned quarry, at Lalupon, Kumapayi, Ile-Igbon and Oke-Omin villages respectively.

-         The justifications for the studies are: The locations of the abandoned waste dumpsites pose a potential risks to plants, animals, humans and the general environment in terms of heavy metal toxicity. The waste is in an open space. Cattle and goats feed and drink on the site. Secondary school children swim inside the leachate pond. The pond overflows into a nearby stream.

-         The broad objectives of the study included: Heavy metals (Pb) contamination assessment; Risk assessment; Chemical remediation option; Phytoremediation option; and Organic remediation option.

-         Conclusions reached are: Contamination assessment showed that the waste contained all the metals tested and it is highly polluted with Pb. The soil and the plants in the immediate environment of the waste are highly polluted with Pb and remediation of the site is imperative. Risk assessment indicated that plants, animals, man, groundwater quality, and the general environment are at high risks of lead toxicity. Identification of metal tolerant plants that can be used to phytoremediate heavy metal contaminated soils and less expensive bio-wastes materials which can effectively immobilize heavy metals in soils and prevent plant uptake.

-         The Ministerial Declaration on Environmentally Sound management of Hazardous Wastes was adopted by the 5th Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention in December 1999.

-         Prof. Osinbajo and his students were able to make environmentally-friendly building materials from Lead ingots in reaction with clay. The product, which is proved not to leach, has also been tested and approved in Germany, and presently undergoing patent.

-         Lead is a high value metal and it can be recycled.

-         The government needs to critically analyse the cost of prevention against the cost of remediation

2nd Presentation: Terseer Ugbor, CEO REDIN Group.

Topic: An Overview of the Trade of Used Lead Acid Batteries (ULAB) in Nigeria.

-         Lead acid batteries are commonly used to power automobiles, industrial equipemny, emergency lighting and alternative energy systems. Dry cell batteries are used in radios, toys, cellular phones, watches, laptop computers, portable power tools, and other consumer goods.

-         Batteries may contain heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, silver, nickel or lithium than can contaminate the environment if not recycled or disposed of properly.

-         Need for study:

  • The rise of alternative energy usage in Nigeria, especially small scale solar energy systems and inverter energy systems, which generally require Lead Acid Batteries for energy storage has created a new ULAB waste stream along with its potential environment hazards.
  • To get better view of the quantities & costs, collection, transportation, storage and current recycling activities of ULABs in the country, the Heinrich Boll Foundation commissioned this study in October 2016
  • A general lack of data and information on (Used)Lead Acid Batteries in Nigeria also necessitated the study.
  • To ascertain the current trade of Used Lead Acid Batteries in Nigeria.
  • To explore developing an Extended Producer Responsibility program for the sector.

-          Findings:

  • Approximately 106,000tons of used lead acid batteries are generated annually in Nigeria, while approximately 96,000tons are collected and sold annually.
  • Nigeria has a fairly basic but organized collection, transportation and storage system for used lead acid batteries around the country.
  • Most used lead acid batteries are bought by “informal” collectors and traders of new batteries and delivered mainly to Onitsha, South East Nigeria and Lagos State, other smaller collection states includes Kano and Ibadan.
  • Retail cost of used acid lead batteries range from N4000 and N10,000 per unit when sold to a wholesale collector or primary recycler.
  • This research found no evidence of health, environmental or safety precautions in handling this hazardous waste by primary recyclers.
  • The findings concluded with the need for more stakeholder engagement to determine the status of secondary smelting and recycling in Nigeria and possible export activities of lead from Nigeria.

-         An EPR programme should be implemented for this sub-sector, as it will shift costs of end-of-life management of waste from municipalities to stewardship organizations.


3rd Presentation: Engr. Vincent Ejike, Union Auto-Parts/Ibeto Group

Topic: Perspectives of a Nigeria lead-acid battery supply, manufacturing and recycling company.

-         Union Autoparts Mfg. Co. Ltd. was established in 1987 and commenced the production of Lead Acid Batteries in 1988

-         In the late 1980’s and the 1990’s, battery manufacturing was a major employer of labour with over 12 companies in active production with most of them having over 1000 workers each. Some of these major companies include West African Batteries at Ibadan (EXIDE), Metropolitan Batteries (Otta), Sunshine Batteries (Uyo), Union Autoparts (Nnewi) etc. However, as at 2011, all these companies have, except Union Autoparts, closed down due to the very unfriendly manufacturing environment in Nigeria caused by uncontrolled dumping of cheap imported Chinese batteries which made it impossible to sell the locally manufactured goods and the complete absence of infrastructure needed for manufacturing. Union Autoparts is the only battery manufacturing company left in Nigeria with its operations and man-power seriously scaled down.

-         The Lead Recycling Plant was started in 1989 with the objective of handling wastes from the battery factory and of producing lead ingots needed for battery manufacturing.

-         The co. has a monthly capacity of recycling 1000mt of battery cells or 1200mt of battery cells annually which translates to about 860,000 units of car batteries.

-         The huge investment in this project is almost a loss as the battery scrap is collected by all comers, some cut and bag the plates and export same to other countries while our local factory remains idle. Though export of scrap metal is in the export prohibition list, and in spite of Nigeria signing the Basel convention on Trans boundary movement of hazardous goods, no agency of Government tries to stop this export of our raw materials. Some others, without regards to the environment, smelt this battery plates into crude lead ingots and export and thus endanger both personnel and the environment while hurting the existence of local factories.

-         Government should enforce ban on export of battery plates and crude lead ingots; control indiscriminate processing of used batteries to protect Health, Safety and Environment; Control dumping of unstandard Chinese batteries (hike import tariff); Government and Agencies should mandatorily use made in Nigeria products.

4th Presentation: Andreas Manhart, Senior Researcher Sustainable Products & Material Flows Coordinator of Lead Africa Project, Oko Institute Germany

Topic: Beyond Nigeria: What do we know about lead recycling on the African Continent?

-         Main applications studied include passenger cars, motorcycles, trucks and Uninterrupted power supplies (UPS)

-         Estimated ULAB volume is Africa in 2016

  • ~1.2 million metric tons
  • ~800,000 t of lead
  • ~8% of the global annual primary production of lead

-         Extreme health and safety risks for worker and neighboring communities due to the increased number of secondary lead smelters in Africa; production of raw lead for exports; and often lack of any efficient control of emissions.

-         As observed in Cameroon, there is high rate of use of lead for kitchenware, Aluminium-lead pots from local industries. Lead is sourced from backyard battery recycling.

-         Recycling of plastic cases after insufficient washing. The plastic is mostly used in local industries (e.g. for polytanks)

-         In most African countries, only few use lead for illegal ammunition production, fishing gear and cooking pots. The bulk of the raw lead is exported to lead refineries in Asia and Europe. There, the lead is mostly used to produce new batteries.

-         Formal ULAB recycling is more competitive than backyard recycling (higher lead yields)

-         Sound ULAB recycling is not too complicated and involves a range of simple but important measures such as: Dust control & clean working environments; Off-gas & wastewater treatment; Protective equipment. Showers, change rooms; Regular emission & health monitoring (blood lead tests)

-         Even high-standard recycling is profitable (high standard smelters currently pay 550 Euro/t of batteries in the EU)

-         High-standard recycling is less profitable compared to low-standard recycling, as low-standard smelters have lower costs, but the same output.

5th Presentation: Mrs. Miranda A. Amachree, Director Inspection and Enforcement Department, National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA)

Topic: The Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Programme and its Potential links to the battery waste stream

-         Advantages of Lead Acid Batteries are low maintenance, durability, provide the best value for power and energy per kilowatt-hour, have the longest life cycle; and a large environmental advantage (recycled at an extraordinary high rate (>90% is recycled and reused)

-         Nearly 99million lead-acid car batteries are produced each year. Each of these contains 18 pounds of lead and one pound of sulphuric acid.

-         90% of lead acid batteries are recycled while the unrecycled ones end up in landfills where they can leach into the surrounding soil and air.

-         Lead is highly toxic to humans and can damage the brain and kidneys, affect hearing and create significant learning disabilities in children.

-         The economic and social benefits have not translated to environmental and health wellbeing

-         ULABs are regarded as hazardous wastes. Lithium in batteries can explode under certain conditions (eg. Cell phones), and it can also cause fires at dumpsites/landfills which releases toxic chemicals into the air. Lead has been linked to birth defects and to neurological and development damage. Mercury is highly toxic, especially in vapor form

-         The best process of collection is the take-back system, and should not be drained at collection point as most of them contain sulfuric acid as electrolyte that can pose threats to human health

-         Transportation should be in inside containers and well packed to prevent movement.

-         ULAB should be stored inside an acid-resistant container to minimize the risk of an accidental spillage. The electrolyte should be taken to an effluent treatment plant.

-         The National Environmental (Sanitation and Waste Control) Regulations S. 1 28 of 2009 and the National Environmental (Motor Vehicle & Miscellaneous Assembly sector) Regulations. Regulation 6 section (2) requires that all damaged and disused components including wires, electronic devices, oil filters, batteries, tyres, airbags etc, shall be amenable to recovery under the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) programme.

-         Countries operating EPR include Germany, China, South Korea, South Africa, Taiwan, United States of America, India, Canada and Netherlands etc.

-         Benefits of EPR are Resource conservation; Pollution Prevention; Job creation, business opportunities and economic development.

-         For the EE Sector: Some Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) formed an alliance, prepared a collective plan; Engaged a consultant to handle the registry part of the PRO; Trying to get other producers including the local assembles involved.

-         Hinckley Associates Nigeria Ltd has been registered by the Agency as a recycler of e-waste and is currently carrying out Environmental Impact Assessment as required by law

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