miércoles, 14 de diciembre de 2011

The Dominican Republic becomes the leading country in Central America and the Caribbean with an environmentally friendly technology for the recycling of used lead acid batteries

The Government’s Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources and Director of Customs coordinate their actions to strengthen the implementation of the Basel Convention


The Basel Convention Regional Center for Central America and Mexico (BCRC-CAM), San Salvador, November 25th, 2011.


BCRC-CAM Director with Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources of the Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic has become the leading Caribbean and Central American country with the most advanced environmentally friendly technology for the recycling of used lead acid batteries (ULAB). These batteries are used in vehicles, computer and telecommunications systems, renewable energy projects, and more. The new recycling plant’s technology produces an inert waste, which in the near future could be used to produce building bricks, in a manner similar to plants in Colombia and the Philippines.

With an investment of approximately US$10 million, Industrias Meteoro SA has constructed a recycling plant for these used batteries in the Haina industrial zone, utilizing internationally recognized and proven “Green Slag” technology of Lead Metal Technologies (LMT), designed by Sr. Flordualdo Lima. Green Slag technology is employed in similar environmentally sound installations in the U.S.A., Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Australia and China. LMT installations do not pollute the atmosphere and will not discharge liquid effluent. Indeed, Green Slag recycling technology is considered to be clean and non-polluting according to the technical standards of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA).

Industrias Meteoro is also an active participant in the BCRC-CAM directed Green Lead program for the environmentally sound management of ULAB (http://www.greenlead.com/Spanish_Index.html). The Green Lead Program is an integral component of the Agreed Regional Strategy for the Environmentally Sound Management of ULAB in Central America, the Caribbean, Mexico, Colombia and Venezuela, and was formulated during the period 2002-2008 under the leadership of the Regional Centres of the Basel Convention for Central America and Mexico and the Caribbean Island States.
Through this regional program, technical assistance is provided to companies that have lead acid battery related commerce or trade and especially to businesses that collect, store, transport or recycle ULAB. After applying the Technical Guidelines of the Basel Convention for the Environmentally Sound Management of ULAB (DTCB-ULAB), conformance is evaluated using the Green Lead Assessment Process which compliments the technical guidelines. The Green Lead Assessment Tool identifies compliance deficiencies against DTCB-ULAB and the Green Lead Protocols; that include Safety, Hygiene and Sustainability, elements not included in the Technical Guidelines. When a participating company believes it has achieved, or is close to conformance to the Basel Technical Guidelines and the Green Lead Protocols, a site visit will take place for independent assessment and verification. Only when a company fully conforms to the Guidelines and the Protocols is the company nominated for a Lead Green Award, which, if approved by the Awards Committee is granted with a validity of two years.

In this way, the international expert, Brian Wilson, from the International Lead Management Center (ILMC) confirmed on Wednesday that the smelting process at the Industrias Meteoro ULAB recycling plant in Haina conforms to the operating parameters set out in the Basel Technical Guidelines and the Green Lead Protocols and that the company had made a significant step forward towards a Green Lead Award. This assessment prompted the Director of the BCRC-CAM, and President of the Green Lead International Committee, Sr. Miguel Araujo, to visit the Dominican Republic to offer support to the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Sr. Reyna Ernesto Alcantara and the Director of General Customs, Sr. Rafael Camilo, in order to comply with the provisions of Section 4.9 of the Basel Convention, which states that Parties to the Convention will not permit the exportation of hazardous wastes and other wastes if national facilities are available for their recycling or final disposal in an environmentally responsible manner. This duty should be fulfilled now that the Dominican Republic has a facility with environmentally sound technology for the recycling of ULAB.

Moreover, Minister, Sr. Reyna and the General Director of Customs, Sr. Camilo, agreed in meetings with the Director of BCRC-CAM, Sr. Araujo, to use this opportunity to reinforce compliance with the Basel Convention in other related areas, such as the control of illegal ULAB exports, whether that be drained ULAB or separate components. Irrespective of the type of export, both cause serious pollution in aquifers and soils, which in time will affect human health through the irresponsible dumping of a battery´s electrolyte which contains dilute sulphuric acid and dissolved lead compounds. Minister Reyna took the opportunity at this meeting with the Director of the BCRC-CAM to express that "as a National Authority of the Basel Convention, we have a firm commitment to honour our international obligations contained in the Convention, especially when this is the International Year of Chemicals. It is also important to recognize that with the investment in green technology by Meteoro Industries, our country is moving forward in the implementation of the Basel Convention, which provides in Article 4.2.b for the Parties to take appropriate measures to establish adequate disposal facilities for the environmentally sound management of hazardous waste and other wastes”. In agreement, the Director of the BCRC-CAM also pointed out that the "advances in recycling technology of ULAB in the Dominican Republic, combined with the commitment of the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources and the Director General of Customs, present a very encouraging outlook for this country and the region, and as a result, they will significantly reduce the risk of serious damage to health and the environment caused by the mismanagement of ULAB, while also promoting the "green economy" that will create 300 new direct jobs and several thousand indirect jobs, by launching a novel environmentally sound “ social franchise” for micro and small entrepreneurs working with ULAB”.

To facilitate its inclusion in regional efforts, BCRC-CAM is located in the headquarters office of the Executive Secretariat of the Central American Commission of Environment and Development (CCAD), within the General Secretariat of Central American Integration (SG-SICA).

The Basel Convention is the most comprehensive global environmental treaty for hazardous wastes. It has 175 member countries (Parties). The fundamental aims of the Convention are the reduction of the transboundary movements of hazardous wastes, the prevention and minimization of their generation, the environmentally sound management of such wastes and the active promotion of the transfer and use of cleaner technologies. In an effort to impart training, transfer of technology and awareness raising activities regarding relevant issues that pertain to the Basel Convention and the environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes and other wastes in the countries which it assists, the Basel Convention has established 14 Regional Centers of Training and Transfer of Technology located in different regions of the world, to deliver training, technology transfer, information, consulting and awareness raising activities on matters relevant to the implementation of the Basel Convention and to the environmentally sound management of hazardous and other wastes.

BCRC-CAM Director with the Director of Customs of the Dominican Repúblic

In agreement, the Director of the BCRC-CAM also pointed out that the "advances in recycling technology of ULAB in the Dominican Republic, combined with the commitment of the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources and the Director General of Customs, present a very encouraging outlook for this country and the region, and as a result, they will significantly reduce the risk of serious damage to health and the environment caused by the mismanagement of ULAB, while also promoting the "green economy" that will create 300 new direct jobs and several thousand indirect jobs, by launching a novel environmentally sound “ social franchise” for micro and small entrepreneurs working with ULAB”.

To facilitate its inclusion in regional efforts, BCRC-CAM is located in the headquarters office of the Executive Secretariat of the Central American Commission of Environment and Development (CCAD), within the General Secretariat of Central American Integration (SG-SICA).

The Basel Convention is the most comprehensive global environmental treaty for hazardous wastes. It has 175 member countries (Parties). The fundamental aims of the Convention are the reduction of the transboundary movements of hazardous wastes, the prevention and minimization of their generation, the environmentally sound management of such wastes and the active promotion of the transfer and use of cleaner technologies. In an effort to impart training, transfer of technology and awareness raising activities regarding relevant issues that pertain to the Basel Convention and the environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes and other wastes in the countries which it assists, the Basel Convention has established 14 Regional Centers of Training and Transfer of Technology located in different regions of the world, to deliver training, technology transfer, information, consulting and awareness raising activities on matters relevant to the implementation of the Basel Convention and to the environmentally sound management of hazardous and other wastes.

For more information, please contact Sr. Miguel Araujo, email: maraujo@sica.int or visit www.crcbcam.blogspot.com or www.sica.int/crcbcam.

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