According to a report titled ‘Loaded batteries:Mapping the toxic waste trail”,more than 90% of the lead-acid batteries disposed off are ending up with the informal sector.
This means they are not only being unscientifically disposed and dismantled but are also polluting the environment in a major way.
The reasons for shops giving away lead-acid batteries to informal sector workers were (a)convenience of pick-up (b)lack of storage space (c)billing issues as it involves time consuming paperwork.
Further,the E-Waste management Rules,2016 also specifies extended producer responsibility(EPR).Under EPR,responsibility of collection of used batteries is entrusted upon producers,importers and brand owners.
The report also revealed that most workers in the informal sector were operating without protective equipment like gloves, masks, aprons and and shoes which leaves them at risk of lead poisoning.
Lead is a cumulative toxicant that affects multiple body systems and young children are particularly vulnerable to it.However,consumer awareness in general is poor regarding disposal and processing concerns of used lead acid batteries as well as about the rules.