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Seven tonnes of ‘e-waste’ prepped for export to foreign recycling plants

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Environment ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra visits an e-waste collection site. Yousos Apdoulrashim

Seven tonnes of ‘e-waste’ prepped for export to foreign recycling plants

In the past four years, Ecobatt-Energy Cambodia has collected more than 7 tonnes of hazardous electronic waste, including batteries and accumulators, for export abroad. The Kingdom does not have the facilities to recycle these products.

Ecobatt-Energy was established in 2019 to focus on battery repair services, but later, in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, began collecting electronic waste for export by deploying battery bins in supermarkets in several towns and cities.

Currently, there are more than 120 battery waste bins, more than 90 of them from the environment ministry. The bins are located in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville.

“We have collected more than seven tonnes of electronic waste. They have been sorted and stored for export, as we lack the technology to recycle them ourselves,” Ecobatt sales manager Pen Channa told The Post.

“We will export the smaller batteries to Spain, and the larger ones to South Korea. We are looking for partners to accept other electronic waste,” he said.

He added that the waste poses a serious threat to the Kingdom’s environment, public health and biodiversity, if not properly stored.

“For example, many batteries contain lead and acid residue. If the batteries are sold, the lead and resin will be extracted, but then the rest of them will be dumped, meaning toxic elements will enter the water system, affecting the biodiversity of Cambodia,” he warned.

Ministry secretary of state Neth Pheaktra said battery waste is dangerous and cannot be ignored, which is why the ministry is cooperating with partners to collect it. The first bins were deployed in Phnom Penh, before expanding to the other two towns.

“We want to encourage their collection, because in the past, people used to throw batteries into the trash or water. Battery waste is harmful to both public health and biodiversity. This is especially serious for people who use the Tonle Sap Lake, the Mekong River or the ocean,” he added.

“Sometimes they use batteries to light their way. When they need to replace them, we will be making sure that they have not thrown the old batteries into the water. If they drop them into the water and the batteries break down, the chemicals in them will contaminate the water around them,” he continued, calling on people to dispose of batteries correctly.

He said Cambodia generates more than 10,000 tonnes of waste each day, or almost four million tonnes per year. Only 50 or 60 per cent of it is dumped in landfills, while just 10 to 15 percent is recycled.

“Of the waste we generate every day, 60 to 65 per cent is organic and 20 per cent is plastic. More than 10 per cent is solid waste, much of it e-waste,” he added.


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