BENGALURU: In one of the biggest crackdowns on illegal lead acid battery processing units in the state, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) has identified and demolished 13 such units in interior villages of Anekal taluk in suburban Bengaluru. These illicit units had mushroomed over a period of time and were threatening to be the worst environmental polluters. The unscientific method of crushing lead acid batteries is a grave threat to soil, water and environment as they contain heavy metals. Lead is the most prevalent heavy metal contaminant.
“We have identified and demolished 13 units which processed used lead acid batteries between December 2 and 3. They were operating illegally at Kadujakkanahalli, Bommandahalli, Vaderahalli and Chinnaiahnapalya villages in Jigani hobli, Anekal taluka,”
KSPCB member-secretary Srinivasulu told TNIE. On Thursday, the joint team demolished five illegal units at Hullahalli, Ramsagar, Seetahahalli and Giddenahalli villages in Jigani hobli. Giving details of the illegal units, Srinivasulu said that the operators buy used batteries from scrap and other dealers between Rs 95 and Rs 100 a kg. “They crush them unscientifically, use boilers to extract lead alloy and sell lead back to battery dealers for Rs 150-175 per kg. Their operating cost is around Rs 2 per kg,” he added.
“They crush the batteries and dump the waste, which contains heavy metals and sulphuric acid. This gets mixed in the soil and contaminates it. While boiling to extract lead alloy, the fumes from the chimney, which can spread up to 2 km radius, pollute the air. Lead is poisonous and can affect crops. Washing of plastic in the batteries is also an environmental hazard,” he said.
Srinivasulu said that the KSPCB will prosecute the offenders, including the land owners who have let out their land for the illegal units under Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, Water (Prevention and Control) Act, 1974 and Environment (Protection Act), 1986. “We would like to send a strong message to criminals. The crackdown will also help the legitimate factories, which have been set up to extract lead from used batteries,” he added.