Residents of Sector 46 on Saturday complained to the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) and the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) against unknown people for disposing off acid from inverter batteries in the open close to the local market in violation of the environmental norms.
According to the residents, more than 20 battery acid has so far been spilt on the road near the market causing severe environmental damages in the area and thereby exposing the people living here to health hazard.
Narrating an incident, Balbir Singh Lohchab, a resident of the sector, said getting the information about the illegal disposal of acid, he rushed to the location and spotted a mini truck loaded with inverter batteries there. He saw 4-5 people unloading the acid component on the road. "I tried to stop them from doing so, but they were adamant. When I tried to reason with them saying this was not the right way to dispose of hazardous chemicals, rather than responding to my argument, they ran away from the spot."
Lohchab filed a complained against this violation with the HSPCB and the MCG through social media and alerted the area sanitary inspector about it.
Some people living in the area have complained of eye irritation which could be attributed to acid. Residents are concerned over the abysmal state of waste management in the city. The area is densely populated with school, residential societies and community centre, hence, they want this kind of violation should be taken seriously.
Ruchika Sethi Takkar, founder of Citizen for Clean Air, said, "It is appalling to see that people are so callous about the environment and the public still indulges in illegal practices to recycle waste for the sake of a few pennies."
In a similar incident, last week in Daultabad Industrial Area, Bharat Sharma, a resident of Sector 104, reported illegal operations at night where lead acid batteries were being thrown in the open furnace for recovering the lead releasing huge smoke and bad smell into the atmosphere.
"These kind of activities usually take place at night. It is important for the authorities to increase night patrolling to keep a check on them," said Sharma.
As per the norms on safety of battery disposal, these should be collected and deposited with the authorised recyclers for recycling where the lead shell inside the plastic body is separated, while the plastic is shredded and recycled. Thereafter, acid is neutralised and disposed off with the help of Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities (TSDF). The oxidised sledge formed inside the cabinet is extracted and disposed through TSDF. The recovered metal lead is being smelted and converted as ingots.
Since the proper mechanism is not followed in the informal sector, they do not segregate the plastic and lead. The acid present in the battery is drained and discharged into soil or through rainwater channels. Lead is separated by burning in open space and the melted lead is accumulated. As the battery casing corrodes, chemicals leach into the soil and make their way into the soil.
The burning of plastic releases carbon, carbon dioxide and dioxins, PAH's (poly cyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), etc., which pollutes the air and atmosphere. The leaching of lead into soil and water ensue. The residue from one battery could contaminate up to one acre of land which will in turn target the life of innumerable living beings.
Meanwhile, the pollution control body initiated the investigation on the matter. An official said, "We are coordinating with the Transport Department to identify the culprits and will take strict action against them as per the law."