As many as 6,000 informal and illegally Used Lead Acid Battery (ULAB) recycling operations are running across the country with a large adverse impact on public health and the environment, according to a new assessment.
Experts, citing the study, urged the authorities concerned for an immediate implementation of environmentally sound used lead-acid battery recycling management to address the unhealthy practice.
They made the call at a capacity-building workshop organised by Environment and Social Development Organisation (ESDO) in collaboration with UN Environment Programme and International Lead Association in Dhaka.
According to ESDO assessment report, over 6,000 informal and illegal ULAB recycling operations across the country and these informal and unsound ULAB recycling is believed to be a significant contributor to population lead exposure across the country and the primary contributor to lead pollution hotspots.
Some 270 locations have been identified and assessed by environmental health professionals from Pure Earth and the Department of Geology of the University of Dhaka those revealed that high concentrations of lead in surroundings, informal ULAB recycling operations and severe public health risks to nearby residents.
A study discussed at the workshop read that the economic impacts from lead exposure estimates that each year Bangladesh loses US$15.9 billion dollars in GDP from reduced lifetime earning potential among the exposed population.
According to icddr,b (2020) study, almost half of the industry’s lead supply is sourced from ULABs that are recycled by informal small enterprises, they mentioned.
The workshop was inaugurated by Syed Marghub Murshed, chairperson of ESDO along with Brian Wilson, Consultant of International Lead Association.
Francesca Cenni, Programme Officer, Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions said that Bangladesh needs to handle their informal recycling sector in an environmentally sound management system or else that could create havoc for the recycler as well as for the whole population.
Nicoline Lavanchy, Project Development Analyst, UN Environment Programme, Minjoon Kim, Health Specialist, UNICEF Bangladesh, Dr Md Mahbubur Rahman, Project Coordinator, Environmental Intervention Unit, icddr,b, Dr Shahriar Hossain, Secretary-General and were present at the event.