Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 23rd 2017 Contents A10 news
guardian.co.tt Thursday, February 23, 2017
EMA pushes for proper
disposal of e-waste
linked to lead threat
By April, the En-
(EMA) intends to
roll out a recycling
project that would
help citizens prop-
erly dispose of haz-
ardous waste such as
Disposal of such trash would help
significantly reduce lead contamination.
EMA's chairman Nadra Nathai-Gyan
said on Tuesday the authority would
soon take "some active steps to dispose
of the country's e-waste" in a safe and
Nathai-Gyan's announcement comes
days after a Joint Select Committee
meeting reported that there were dan-
gerously high levels of lead which could
be affecting the Guanapo landfill.
University of the West Indies lec-
turer Dr Denise Beckles, one of the
authors of a May 2016 report looking
into The Impact of the Contaminants
Produced by the Guanapo Landfill on
the Surrounding Environment said old
batteries from vehicles, cellphones, in-
dustrial, household and rechargeable
and non-rechargeable can trigger lead
when disposed at a landfill.
"That is probably one of the biggest
sources," Beckles said. E-waste may be
defined as discarded computers, office
electronic equipment, entertainment
device electronics, mobile phones,
television sets, and refrigerators.
The components inside a cellphone
battery can leak out when it comes in
contact with the atmosphere, the lec-
Beckles said proper disposal of bat-
teries was key to curbing hazardous
e-waste. She said, "a hazardous waste
landfill" was required in getting rid of
electronic waste, mainly batteries.
"And those must have stringent
measures in place to ensure that ma-
terials do not escape. It is not only the
landfill itself but where it is...that mat-
In retrospect, Beckles said, batteries
should not be buried.
"It has to be put somewhere safe...
either in an actual concrete well where
it is not easily permeable by water or
some other means."
From the time batteries are placed
in a landfill it becomes
"If there is a mecha-
nism where people know
they can take their bat-
teries here or there. It
would have to be con-
venient for most people.
That is what we need.
Whether that requires
legislative change... I
doubt. People are aware
that lead is bad... and if you tell peo-
ple that there is lead in the water they
would be very concerned.
But, proper disposal of batteries was
where some citizens fall short.
"What might be needed is educa-
tion. We have to connect the force to
the end...your actions have a conse-
quence," Beckles said.
Nathai-Gyan said the EMA would
work in collaboration what a number
of State agencies and manufacturers
towards this initiative.
"We are putting systems in place
where they (public) will sort their
garbage. It is going to be a long-term
Key to all of this, Nathai-Gyan said
was to sensitise and raise public aware-
"Some people would not do it. If we
could get people to recycle their bottles,
cans and ketchup packs we would reduce
the garbage that goes to the landfills."
She said e-waste would be done at
"The one rule remaining to enact un-
der the EMA's Act is waste rules. There
is draft. As chairman, I have already
told them that we have to enact those
rules. This would have to go for public
As a start, Nathai-Gyan said they were
willing to provide households with gar-
bage bags to sort their garbage.
"These things will have to be done
voluntarily. You can't come and be pu-
nitive at the start. You have to change
CEO of the Caribbean Industrial Re-
search Institute (Cariri) Liaquat Ali Shah
agreed with Beckles that batteries were
the most hazardous in a landfill.
"Lead waste can come from batter-
ies...and these can be from a simple
torchlight to motor car batteries."
He said T&T was yet to establish a
waste separation programme, which
would be a step in the right direction.
Discarded old vehicle batteries
Former West Indies Cricket captain Brian Lara, left, mimics US president Donald Trump as he jokingly
spars with former national football captain, Dwight Yorke, who was recently barred from traveling to the
US. The two were photographed when Lara hosted a boxing bout at his residence at Lady Chancellor, Port-
of-Spain, on Tuesday. See Page A54
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