Delhi: A Big Hotspot for Battery Recycling
Source: Toxics Link, Date: January , 2014
Battery Industry has seen huge growth in the recent years. Worldwide primary
and secondary battery demand is projected to rise about 7 percent annually; it
was estimated through 2010 to be a $73.6 billion global market. The growth
story of Indian Lead Acid battery industry has been even more phenomenal. It is
poised to grow to over 100 percent in the coming four years given the current
rate of growth of over 25 per cent annually. The total Indian storage battery
market is estimated approximately at US$ 600 million with the automotive
battery segment contributing more than 65 percent of the overall market value.
Indian market consists of large brands such as Amron, Exide and Luminous etc
but there exist a large number of local and small brand players termed as
non-branded. Non-branded batteries are cheaper and consumers buy them due to
the cost difference (non branded battery costs ~half of branded battery).
are used in automotive vehicles such as trucks, cars, bikes etc. These are also
used in household’s items like inverters and UPS. Whenever the battery life
ends the consumer gives it to the automotive shops and gets some money or
exchange with new battery as replacement. This has been the general practice in
contain a number of heavy metals and toxic chemicals (battery contains 65% of lead, 16% sulphuric acid, 10%
of plastics and around 9% of other materials); their improper recycling and
dumping has raised concern over risks of soil & water contamination and air
pollution. For example, in humans lead (Pb) is widely known to impact the
central and nervous peripheral system and blood system; children and women are
much more susceptible to lead poisoning. The sources contributing are 20% from
food, 15% from air, 10% from water and rest 55% from the dust & soil. Lead
is also accumulates in the environment and chronic has effects on plant, animal
To address some of these concerns, the Battery (Management and
Handling) Rules came
in 2001 with an amendment in 2010. These rules apply to every manufacturer,
importer, re-conditioner, assembler, dealers, recycler, auctioneers and bulk
implementation of the Rule has been highly inadequate and monitoring even
poorer. In India, there are around 353 registered recyclers, but a large
informal sector is involved in battery recycling. 55% of the battery waste is
processed in unorganized sector or the informal sector. Delhi is one large
market for such recycling.
Government information, there are no lead smelting units in Delhi. But there
are many areas in Delhi such as Mandoli, Karawal Nagar, Narela, Mundka,
and Nazafgarh, where the smelting operations are still running
clandestinely. These illegal and unauthorized units break the batteries
manually and recycled in unsafe manner.
dismantle and segregate different components like plastic, lead grids &
powder, separators and acids. The plastic is sent to a plastic recycler
where the pieces are melted together into an almost-liquid state. The molten
plastic is put through an extruder that produces small plastic pellets of
uniform size. Those pellets are sold to the manufacturer of battery cases. The separators
are washed in water tubs and lead powder (PbO) is collected from the bottom.
The Acid is thrown openly
near the units.
toxic parts are the lead grids and lead oxide, which are melted together
in furnace. The molten lead is poured into ingot molds. When the ingot cools, they are removed from
the molds and sent to the manufacturers, where they are re-melted and used in
the production of new lead grids & lead powder. The lead recovery process is extremely hazardous
and may lead to serious occupational hazard and environmental pollution. The
lead grinding and filling areas are Saboli, Mandoli, Karawal Nagar, Alipur,
Narela, Bakauli, Sultanpur Mazra and Nangloi etc.
Battery Rules do bring in the concept of Extended Producer Responsibility
(EPR), for better management and safe recycling, EPR and the take back system
should be implemented mandatorily by dealer and manufacturer. They can open
collection centers individually or jointly for the consumers. Financial
incentives can also probably help in bringing in consumers in the system.
Lastly, there is a urgent need to create awareness on the issue among consumers
and other stakeholders.
By Vinod Kumar Sharma