FPI asks govt to enforce ban on
export of used car batteries, lead scraps
The Federation of Philippine Industries (FPI) is calling on concerned government agencies to stop the illegal export of lead scraps usually obtained from used lead-acid batteries (ULAB) pursuant to local regulations and the country’s commitment to the Basel Convention.
FPI Chairman Dr. Jesus L. Arranza said data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that a sizeable amount of lead scraps that are considered hazardous waste have been exiting the country annually.
This is despite the expressed prohibition of such export under Republic Act (RA) 6969 or the “Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act of 1990” and its implementing rules outlined in Department Administrative Order (DAO) 2013-22 of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
The export of scrap lead, Arranza said, also goes against the Philippines’ commitment to the Basel Convention.
“As a matter of policy, export of hazardous wastes like lead scrap and ULAB is not allowed when the country of origin has the capability to recycle them. In the case of lead scrap and ULAB, we have Evergreen Environmental Resources Inc. (EERI), which operates state-of-the-art recycling facilities for ULABs in Bulacan,” Arranza said.
This, Arranza added, is why they found it alarming that the PSA has actual data on lead scrap exports, which indicates that such shipments actually went through official channels.
Arranza said his team inquired with the DENR on the matter and was informed that the department has not issued export clearance to any company for lead scrap. The DENR stressed that there is no way the agency would approve any application for lead scrap export clearance.
“If there is no clearance from the DENR, how did these shipments manage to slip through the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and even got reflected in the PSA export data? Also, how come there is no record from the DENR and Department of Trade Industry (DTI) of who these exporters are?” Arranza asked.
Data from the PSA showed that around 8,500 tons of lead waste and scrap were exported by the Philippines from January to August last year.
Arranza said there is also no record if these exported lead scraps are in the form of ULABs or were merely separated from used auto batteries.
But since scrap lead is mostly obtained from ULABs, Arranza said this means that these illegal exporters managed to get their hands on a big volume of old batteries. Using the PSA data as basis, these illegal exporters are probably collecting around 500,000 pieces of ULAB at an average weight of 15 kgs per unit.
This, Arranza noted, has dire implications economic and environmental-wise.
“We don’t how these exporters are handling and dismantling their ULABs, which are hazardous wastes. What have they done to the plastic components and the acid, did they just throw them into the trash or bodies of water?” Arranza stressed.
Also, local recyclers like EERI and their customers are being deprived of materials to make their operations more viable.
With this, Arranza said this illegal practice should be jointly looked into by the DENR, DTI, BOC, and other concerned agencies.
The FPI and its members, he added, are ready to contribute their resources and inputs to the investigation.