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Gaza’s battery pileups from the past pose a risk to health and the environment.
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Gaza’s battery pileups from the past pose a risk to health and the environment.

He stated that the most serious threat to the battery’s integrity is the release of sulfuric acid-containing liquid into the soil and water aquifer.

According to the Gaza Environment Authority, there are 25,000 tonnes of old batteries scattered across the small and overcrowded territory. There are no recycling facilities in Gaza, and Egypt and Israel have imposed a severe blockade that prevents the safe shipping of batteries abroad.

The US Environmental Protection Agency says that used batteries pose a variety of dangers to the environment as well as public health. Some batteries can catch fire, while others can contain dangerous metals like mercury, lead, or cadmium.

These risks are particularly acute in Gaza, where the health system has been destroyed by years of conflict and lack funds and where the environment is already in desperate condition. Because of the high saline levels resulting from overextraction, almost all Gaza’s water is unfit for drinking.

Israel bombed Gaza’s sole power station during a 2006 fighting round and imposed the blockade against Egypt the year following the takeover of power by Hamas militants from rival Palestinian forces. The result was a daily blackout lasting for at least eight hours. During winter storms or conflicts, longer outages can occur that can last for days.

For the 2 million inhabitants of the territory, batteries have become an integral part their daily lives.

The hazardous waste unit in Gaza City is used to dispose of batteries. Ahmed Abu Abdu, the head of the hazardous waste unit, claims that very few batteries reach him. A small private sector has sprung up instead.

Every day, donkey-drawn carts or cars carrying collectors roam Gaza calling out to people who want to sell their old batteries. Old batteries can fetch as much as $2 per piece depending on their size.

Khaled Ayyad is just one of many merchants who purchase the old batteries. He has kept the batteries in northern Gaza for eight years.

Ayyad has only one goal: to export the battery and make a decent profit.

As the Israeli side allows [batteries]He said that Gaza must allow them to go out. We can sell them in factories in Israel, European countries, or anywhere else in the world.

However, exporting batteries is still prohibited and Ayyad now faces a new dilemma: He has approximately 500 tons of batteries stored in his warehouse.

He cannot resell, export, or dump them and has been paying storage fees. He sent a message of concern to Hamas: We appeal to the Egyptian officials to allow us to export them to Egypt.

There is a precedent. In recent years, trade cooperation between Egypt and Hamas has been boosted by a crossing in Rafah. It is used primarily to transport goods such as fuel, construction materials, tobacco products, and fuel into Gaza. It has also been used for shipping scrap metal to Egypt.

Ayyads warehouse has concrete floors, but most other storage locations can spill hazardous materials into the soil.

Although there have not been any studies on the environmental threat, research done in 2013 by a Gaza neurologist and an environmental scientist showed that children who handle discarded batteries can be poisoned with lead.

In an effort to reduce the danger, Hamas authorities banned the import of secondhand battery since 2017.

Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights in Gaza, which is based in Gaza, issued a 2018 report warning of the danger of batteries.

Hussein Hammad, of the rights group, stated that there is an issue. The batteries have now started to affect human right: the right o to health, the right o a clean environment, and right to life.

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