AESS leadership students are holding a zinc drive to prevent dead batteries from ending up in landfills and help to promote child health in Kenya. Batteries can be dropped off at multiple locations around Agassiz including Agassiz Harrison Community Services, Canadian 2 For 1 and Red Apple.

Local youth pioneer community zinc drive

Students collect dead batteries to help Kenyan children

When it comes to vitamins and nutrients, most of us think about fruits and vegetables and not so much about dead batteries.

But that’s exactly what a group of Agassiz Elementary Secondary School (AESS) students are doing.

In their leadership class, the group decided to join in on the annual Zinc Saves Lives Battery Recycling Campaign led by Canadian resource company Teck.

The program encourages students across Canada to collect and recycle used batteries in their communities, keeping them out of landfills and raising money for zinc and health programming for youth in Kenya.

For every AA battery recycled, Teck donates the value to WE Canada to support zinc treatment programs that save children’s lives.

Makayla Morissette, a Grade 11 student at AESS, said the zinc drive is a powerful way for youth to empower young people from across the globe.

“We’re able to make a difference so far away from where the impact is actually happening,” she said. “I think it’s really cool because not a lot of people get the opportunity to do that.”

On its website, Teck explains that zinc is an “essential micro-nutrient that is crucial for healthy growth and brain development.”

By strengthening the immune system, zinc fights dangerous infections and is a life-saving treatment for diarrhea, which kills more than 500,000 children each year.

The numbers are startling – zinc deficiency affects 1.2 billion people worldwide and contributes to the death of nearly 200,000 children every year.

With money raised from recycling old batteries, WE Canada purchases the therapeutic zinc and supplements needed to promote child health in Kenya.

Morissette said the drive is a great way for the whole community to get involved in a good cause.

“A lot of people just throw away their dead batteries but, in this instance, an AAA battery has enough zinc for six people to get the zinc that they need in their diets,” she said. “This is something that, because we ourselves are youth, it’s something we feel a little bit closer to.

“Anything we feel like we can make an impact on, we’ll take on,” she said of her leadership class.

Morissette encourages the community to take a moment to check electronics and tech items for dead batteries.

The batteries can be donated at AESS, Red Apple, Canadian 2 For 1, Agassiz Harrison Community Services and the Valley Youth Centre.

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