IIT researchers study policy tools to reduce lead pollution

‘27.5 crore children affected by high exposure to lead’

Updated - September 07, 2021 12:45 am IST

Published - September 07, 2021 12:43 am IST - CHENNAI

When lead acid batteries are broken it causes acid and lead dust spill in the soil and the surroundings

When lead acid batteries are broken it causes acid and lead dust spill in the soil and the surroundings

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology at Madras and Kanpur have suggested tax reduction on regulated recycling sector and subsidies to regulated recycling and re-manufacturing sectors to reduce lead pollution from lead-acid batteries.

In their effort to develop policy guidelines to reduce lead pollution, the researchers have called for a high subsidy to formal re-manufacturing sector that would shut down regulated and unregulated lead recycling sectors.

When lead acid batteries are broken it causes acid and lead dust spill in the soil and the surroundings. Lead, when melted in open furnaces, results in poisonous gases permeating the air.

The researchers cite a UNICEF study that estimates that 27.5 crore children in the country have high exposure to lead. Such children suffer from reduced IQ, decreased attention span, anaemia, kidney and liver disorders.

The research team included R.K. Amit, professor, Department of Management Studies, IIT Madras; and B. Vipin, assistant professor, Department of Industrial and Management Engineering; Janakarajan Ramkumar, Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering; and Brahmesh Vinayak Joshi from IIT Kanpur.

The team published the results of its work in the journal Resources, Conservation, and Recycling .

Mr. Amit said the team studied to quantitatively assess the impact of different policy instruments on shifting the recycling business from unorganised to organised sector.

The researchers assessed the impact of policies such as reducing tax on regulated recyclers, subsidies to organised recyclers and formal battery re-manufacturers on the performance of recycling.

They used a system dynamics model to explore the implications of economic policies quantitatively on the recycling of used lead-acid batteries.

After the policy changes are enforced, the team would explore its implication on job loss in the unorganised sector and ways to integrate the affected workforce with the organised sector, Prof. Amit added.

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