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Indian Environment Ministry's SOP for lead-acid battery recycling seeks to minimise environmental and health risks

The SOP spells out rules on the import, transport, and recycling of lead-bearing waste.

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January 31 2024
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The Central Pollution Control Board, under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), India, released the standard operating procedure (SOP) for the recycling of lead scrap/used lead-acid batteries, early this month. The SOP aims to regulate the import, transport, and recycling of lead-bearing waste while minimising environmental and health risks.
According to the SOP, all units engaged in scrapping should obtain valid authorisation from the relevant State Pollution Control Board or Pollution Control Committee in line with the Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016.
According to the SOP, the prescribed standards include limits for lead concentrations in the work area air (0.05 milligram per cubic mtrs.), emissions through the stack (10.0 milligram per normal cubic mtrs.), effluents (0.10 milligram per litre), and ambient air near the factory boundary (1.0 microgram per cubic mtrs.). The SOP also underscores the accountability of the occupier in instances of environmental damages resulting from the improper handling of battery wastes. It further adds that import of the used lead batteries should be done in pallets ad it should be either stretch wrapped or shrink wrapped to the full height and be air tight to avoid any gas within the pallets. Imporrted used lead acid batteries should have the caps of cells properly tightened in place at the time of transportation. Those importing used lead acid batteries should have regitsration on the EPR portal and should have mechianical facility for draning the acid from batteries into the acid collection tank. The authorisation for import will be granted for five years.
Both rotary and mandir bhatti furnaces are permissible under SOP but with stringent pollution control measures, including suction hoods connected to air pollution control systems and a range of components such as expansion chambers, cooling tubes, cyclones, bag filters, and alkaline scrubbers.
Further details of the SOP can be obtained here