Case File: Helping Manage Australian Lead in Petrol - How GLASS Works
Elizabeth O’Brien, Manager, Global Lead Advice & Support
In April 2005 a Croatian woman volunteered to do data-entry of Global Lead Advice and Support Service (GLASS) emails. By May 2005 she had been inspired by our work to make contact (in Croatian) with organisations in her homeland inspiring them to move to a national ban on leaded petrol. In June 2005, an environmental organisation in Croatia had sent our information to the Environment protection head office but not having received a reply, they decided to put out an alert on their very popular website to inform the Croatian public. (Our volunteer then took up paid work at our state environment department.) By the end of 2005, Croatia had phased-out leaded petrol. By comparison, according to PCFV_Lead_Matrix-CEE&CA_200609.pdf the outlook for the neighbouring countries is not so good: Serbia: Optimistic forecast for a leaded gasoline ban according to the National Environmental Action Program is 2010. Business as usual is 2020.” Bosnia and Herzegovina: “Leaded petrol to be banned as of January 1, 2010.”Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: no ban date given.
Inspired by our potential to make contacts in other countries with similar good results, when a Social Inquiry student from a Sydney university began her internship here in August 2005, she took on the project of contacting relevant departments in countries where leaded petrol is still sold for road use. She quickly realized that there was no single authoritative list of all the countries that were her target, and thus the project’s most successful outcome was web-publication of the list she spent months eliciting from contacts in the United Nations and petroleum associations as well as 33 new contacts she made with national governments (see www.lead.org.au/fs/fst27superseded.html ). Each time a national government agency had to be contacted, region-specific information about phasing out leaded petrol was sent.
Again setting a global precedent of having all the listed countries on one authoritative map, a German intern, Cornelia Dost, who had returned to Germany created a world map of leaded petrol countries for my presentation to the Minerals Council of Australia conference on Sustainable Development (see www.lead.org.au/bblp/Green_lead/sld012.htm ) on November 1, 2005.[Cornelia provided an updated map for this Case File in February 2007.]
Staff members of the Australian Department of Industry and Tourism (DITR)
who saw the presentation invited me to represent the Australian
community in their consultation process to write handbooks on mining
including one on Stewardship (see the Stewardship Handbook at www.industry.gov.au/assets/documents/itrinternet/stewardship
In August 2006, a new Sydney University intern began a project here on stewardship of Australian lead mine products (ore, concentrate, metal). The most unexpected result of her research was “Innospec has advised me that Britannia Refined Metals Limited, a subsidiary of MIM [Mount Isa Mines] Holdings in Queensland, Australia, now owned by Xstrata, provides them with the lead they use in the petrol additive they sell to petroleum companies to make leaded petrol.” Innospec is the only manufacturer globally of this lead additive.
The list of originally 81 countries selling leaded petrol has today been updated via the same contacts and now stands at 15 countries (see www.lead.org.au/fs/fst27.html ). We can’t help but feel that by focussing these organisations for the first time on the target, we have played no small part in this progress.
Update 22 June 2009
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