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A Toxics-Free Future

Stakeholder Consultation on Lead-Acid Battery Recycling in Ethiopia

PAN-Ethiopia, Addis Ababa

PAN-Ethiopia in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change, GIZ and Oeko Institute organized a stakeholders consultation on Lead-Acid Battery recycling in Ethiopia. The schedule was packed, starting with a 1-day workshop on October 22nd about the impacts of lead on human health (with the experience of the Africa Lead Paint Elimination Project) and proper ULAB recycling based on the European experience. The meeting was very successful and the attendance was better than expected. We had around 20-30 participants from different government ministries, the solar industry, Energy Development section of GIZ and from ULAB recyclers. Also the media (TV and radio) was there, which resulted in a quite good media coverage in Ethiopia. The workshop mainly functioned as an awareness-raising event, stressing the importance of a sound battery recycling landscape, given the potential negative impacts and the rapidly rising volumes from off-grid electrification.

On October 23rd & 24th PAN-Ethiopia made visits to 3 companies active in lead-acid battery recycling. The team was accompanied by various people from the Ministry, the solar industry  and universities. Thus, several interested stakeholders gained an impression of the real situation on the ground. While none of these 3 companies can be recommended as a disposal option (all of them with severe shortcomings in terms of health & safety and environmental pollution), one of them seemed to be interested and in a position to go through an improvement process. The company is located in an industrial zone, already uses a rotary furnace and off-gas treatment, and would have sufficient space to upgrade the facility.

On October 25th, PAN-Ethiopia compiled main findings and had a small debriefing session with GIZ/Energy Development and the Ministry.  

The workshop and the field visits were important steps for awareness raising and PAN-Ethiopia had the impression that this input was very well received. Interest in starting solution-orientated activities seems to be great at GIZ, solar companies, some of the recyclers, interested scientists and also the Ministry.