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‘Nobel’ prize for environmental campaigner who exposed sub-standard lead battery recycling

Environmentalist Phyllis Omido has been awarded a prestigious award in Sweden for her work highlighting environmental issues.

Ms Omido rose to prominence after highlighting the impact of inappropriate lead recycling in her home village in Kenya in 2010.

After taking on a job at a company in her village, her two year old son became ill and doctors eventually discovered he was suffering from lead poisoning. 

Her entire village had been affected by years of dangerous – and illegal – exposures. Her campaigning work resulted in an investigation into the company – and its eventual closure in 2014. 

Dr Steve Binks, ILA’s Sustainability Director, said the award is important because it “recognises that sub-standard and dangerous lead and lead battery recycling operations in low and middle-income countries must be highlighted and outlawed.” He said Governments and regulators have a responsibility to ensure appropriate measures are in place to tackle polluting operations such as those highlighted by Phylis Omido.

The LB360 programme has an objective to champion best practices in lead mining, lead production and lead battery manufacturing and recycling, by encouraging responsible practices along the entire battery value chain no matter where batteries are produced and recycled.

The Right Livelihood Award has become known as the alternative Nobel prize for environmental issues. 

According to the award organisers the award recognises individuals and organisations who “stand up to save lives, preserve nature and safeguard the dignity and livelihoods of communities around the world,” and who “fight for people’s right to health, safety, a clean environment and democracy”.