FIMBANK sponsors National Campaign for the collection of used batteries
The Ministry for Resources and Rural Affairs, in conjunction with the Ministry for Education, Youth and Employment, has launched the National School Battery Collection Campaign, a major initiative to raise awareness amongst school children about the impact batteries have on our health and environment when disposed of incorrectly. This campaign is being managed by WasteServ Malta Ltd and sponsored and supported by FIMBank p.l.c. as part of its corporate social responsibility programme for 2009.
A competition which has been named the ‘Battery Buster Competition’ is about to begin and is aimed at all school children across the Maltese Islands from Year 1 in primary schools to Form 4 at secondary school level. A character called Batterina has been created to represent this campaign and its message. Batterina will be an environmental champion of the battery collection campaign and has been designed to appeal to the school children that are eligible to participate in this competition.
The Minister for Resources and Rural Affairs, Hon. Pullicino, in his address stated that “WasteServ has been utilising eco-contribution funds collected by the government to recover batteries from the general waste stream and export them for treatment. Since 2003, when WasteServ was set up, more than 70,000 kg of batteries were collected, and together with amounts collected since 1995, the total amounts to more than 136,000 kg. In 2005, the collection of such batteries reached the 100 tonnes milestone and all these batteries were exported for treatment to France.”
He concluded by saying that “in the absence of waste recovery schemes by the private sector, WasteServ will continue to increase awareness on the issue and this is one such activity, which is being undertaken together with FIMbank p.l.c., who I would like to take the opportunity to thank for their support and sponsorship of this excellent initiative.”
Perit Ben Farrugia, WasteServ Malta Ltd. Chairman, explained that “WasteServ believes that environmental education of the younger generation is the key to better management of waste today and in the future, and is pivotal for our country to reach the stringent national targets related to waste management that we must meet in the coming years. He continued that the school is undoubtedly the best place to reach these objectives with our younger population acting as a catalyst to spread awareness nation-wide. WasteServ has always invested heavily in education of our youth, and between October 2008 and February 2009 our Educational Service managed to reach 13,000 students from primary and secondary schools, with more than 430 sessions held in the period. These sessions include storytelling, hands-on collages, quizzes, drama sessions and also visits by students onsite.”
Perit Farrugia also said that “there is a general trend by the public to use more and more household batteries for all kinds of equipment and gadgets. When these batteries are disposed of incorrectly amongst our other waste they become extremely harmful to us and to the environment. This campaign, will aim at reducing such burden while increasing necessary awareness on the issue”.
Ms Margrith Lütschg-Emmenegger - President of FIMBank p.l.c. added, “We have benefited greatly from basing our operations in Malta and we want to participate in select initiatives that benefit the island and her population, in order to give something back. The National School Battery Collection Campaign fits these criteria perfectly. The campaign reaches out, motivates and raises awareness among a young segment of Malta’s population - and a very important one at that when considering the long term issues that are being addressed relating to our wellbeing and that of our environment.”
From 20 March to 31 May, students are encouraged to collect used batteries. During the course of the campaign, students will be provided with specially designed recycled paper bags which are to be dropped in designated bins in their school. The batteries collected will then be transported by WasteServ to properly equipped disposal sites overseas where they can be recycled and dangerous chemicals neutralised. Even the collection bins are made of recycled material by trainees of the ex-EQUAL 8 project. The lottery collection will take place up to 31 May and four lucky winners will then be drawn in June to win one of 3 Wii games consoles and a grand prize of a trip for two to Euro Disney in Paris. The more batteries a student collects, the greater his/her chances of winning one of these great prizes.
In addition to the battery collection campaign, a computer slide presentation competition is being organised which is open to all secondary school students from Forms 1 to 4, encouraging entrants to research, create and submit informative computer slide presentations about the harm that batteries can cause to plants, animals and people when disposed of inappropriately. There is a prize of one high spec laptop computer for the winners of each age group - one per Form - in this competition.
For more information about proper battery disposal, the campaign and the accompanying competitions, please visit www.wasteservmalta.com.