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New norms for lead acid battery recycling

R. Ramabhadran Pillai

KOCHI: The Kerala State Pollution Control Board (PCB) is in the process of bringing dealers of lead acid batteries under the newly introduced provisions of battery management. Accordingly, the dealers will have to get registered with the PCB.

The Batteries (Management and Handling) Rules, 2001, which had been in force, stipulated that dealers and other agencies handling lead acid batteries should file half-yearly returns on the number of batteries being handled. The rules were intended to ensure that the chemicals used in batteries are not handled unscientifically. There is a potential threat of polluting the environment due to improper handling or spilling of acid and other chemicals used in the battery. The new measure to get dealers registered with the PCB has been introduced as the direction on filing of half-yearly returns was not effective, a senior official of the PCB told The Hindu. The board had already asked 35 dealers to register with the board as per rules.

The initiative is to ensure accountability among dealers. Old batteries have to be disposed of scientifically or recycled in accordance with established norms to ensure that no pollution of environment takes place in the process. There are two battery recycling units in Kerala (in Palakkad and Pathanamthitta) which have been registered with the PCB.

While established companies have a mechanism to track down the batteries in use and recycling of them, there are local manufacturers who have inadequate set-up to handle hazardous chemicals or insufficient awareness, ultimately contributing to environmental degradation. The used battery would have to be neutralised under technical supervision, said Amit, an engineer working with a battery manufacturing company. Those who assemble batteries locally may not be adhering to scientific means, he said.

Under the Batteries (Management and Handling) Rules, 2001, it is mandatory for manufacturers, assemblers, re-conditioners, importers and dealers to comply with the statutory requirements to ensure that used batteries were collected back against new batteries sold. The manufacturers, assemblers and re-conditioners were to file half-yearly returns of their sales and buy-back to the PCB concerned.

The rules also stipulated that collection centres be set up either individually or jointly at various places for collection of used batteries from consumers or dealers. The used batteries collected are to be sold only to the registered recyclers.

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