– Used oil poses health, environment hazards
Total Ethiopia and the Addis Ababa University Institute of Technology are undertaking a study on the possibility of recycling used motor oil which currently is disposed everywhere, posing a hazards to the environment and human life.
Currently, the bulk of used motor oil is disposed freely in various parts of Addis Ababa and the regional towns. However, it is also used as a source of energy to power some production plants in the country. But experts say used oil has contaminants that affect the environment and human health. There is no organized way of collecting and disposing of used oil. Motorists are often seen changing their motor oil along roadsides and contaminating the environment.
Total Ethiopia and the Addis Ababa University have teamed up to develop an affordable technology that would enable companies to treat the used oil and reuse it for industrial purposes. Total Ethiopia and the Addis Ababa Institute of Technology (AIT) had signed a contract for the project study of the development of low cost used oil treatment plant in Ethiopia back in November 2015. Total Ethiopia fully sponsored the study undertaken by AIT involving some 16 researchers.
Hence, completing the first phase of the project study, AIT handed over the study documents to Total Ethiopia on Thursday. At the handing over ceremony held at AIT Executive director office, Lassina Toure, managing director of Total Ethiopia S.C, said that used oil collection and disposal triggers a big global concern as it has impacts on health and the environment. Toure said currently, the increasing number of vehicles and the expansion of industries generates a large amount of used oil in Ethiopia where there is no comprehensive used oil management in place.
“Thus, it is important to formulate a comprehensive used oil management strategy to minimize the diverse effects used oil cause on the environment and utilize the benefits of proper utilization of used oil as a valuable energy resource,” Toure said.
Total Ethiopia has provided over one million birr to the project study. The project study has three phases and the remaining two phases will be undertaken based on the findings in phase one. “As a responsible company Total Ethiopia has a concern for protecting the environment from pollution and we need to contribute our part,” Toure said. He said Total would continue supporting the remaining two phases of the study.
Esayas G. Youhannes (PhD), executive director of AIT, said that used oils are reused as energy source which causes risk to health and the environment. “Used oil is used to run plants without any treatment and this damages their life span,” Esayas said. He said that the ultimate objective of the study is to devise an appropriate technology to treat the used oil and avoid health and environmental risks.
“The ultimate importance of the study is to produce a comprehensive strategy to collect used oil, treat it and reuse it as an appropriate resource. The project will be successful because it has contributions to the environment, human health and economic benefits by saving costs.”
Esayas told The Reporter that the Ministry of Environment has commended the project. He said AIT will bring all the stakeholders on board. “Total Ethiopia is not the only oil company operating in Ethiopia. We have many other oil suppliers such as NOC and Oil Libya and we will invite them to join the initiative. We will also closely work with the Ministry of Environment, other ministries, governmental and nongovernmental organizations.”
AIT will soon organize a workshop and invite all the stakeholders to join the project. Total Ethiopia supports AIT in several projects including technology transfer, research and recruitment of students under “Young Graduates Program”. Total Ethiopia, a subsidiary of Total International, has been operating in Ethiopia since 1950.