Status of Used Lead Acid Battery Management in Kingdom of Cambodia

In the Kingdom of Cambodia, used lead acid batteries (ULAB) are not normally managed in an environmentally sound manner and there is no specific government institution responsible for ULAB management1. Detailed legislation specifically targeting the management of ULAB does not exist, except for some related statutory instruments such as the Law on Environmental Protection and Natural Resources Management; the Sub-Decree on Water Pollution Control; and the Sub-Decree on Solid Waste Management. Unsound ULAB management has caused concern for the environment and population health in Cambodia and there is an urgent need to improve the management mechanisms based on sound environmental practices, otherwise, harmful and irreparable consequences will occur in the future. The adverse health effects are a particular concern because they become another obstacle in the application of the Poverty Alleviation Program, which is the main policy of the present Royal Government of Cambodia.   The main environmental and health threats arising from current practices are the release of hazardous materials from ULAB and flammable and obnoxious gas emissions. The materials released into the environment include lead oxides, lead sulfates and dilute sulfuric acid. These materials are released during various stages in the life cycle of the lead acid battery (LAB), including recharging, ineffective and inefficient ULAB recycling and residue disposal. These “unfriendly” activities are all contributors to the pollution of the soil, aquatic ecosystems, and sometimes, domestic air quality as well.  Besides the LAB recharging and ULAB recycling, the storage of ULAB in homes, workplaces and children’s playground areas has resulted in large amounts of lead and acidic substances accumulating in places readily accessible to young children and worker’s families. These small stockpiles might be a risk to them and the local communities.  

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Department of Environmental Pollution Control; Ministry of Environment
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