3rd Fl., 28B/7/1 Jia Sarai Near IIT, Hauz KHas, New Delhi-110016
2nd Fl., ABC Complex, Sunny Side,1st Main Road, Gandhi Nagar, Adyar, Chennai- 600020, Tamilnadu, (South) India.
PROMILA SHARMA MALIK
DR. JAYAPRIYA DHANDAPANI
Director of Strategic Communications
About Pure Earth India
Pure Earth has been active in India since 2004. Since then, Pure Earth and its local partners have identified 716 contaminated sites, and completed rapid screening assessments at 500 of these. Pure Earth has also conducted a number of risk-reduction projects across India and has engaged with the government on a variety of pollution issues. In recent years, Pure Earth’s focus in India has centered on lead (Pb) contamination.
Pure Earth is currently developing non-assessment activities in India that directly result from our in-depth assessment of lead contamination through the TSIP. These activities are designed to advance a national effort to further formalize the lead-acid battery recycling industry and substantially reduce the volume of lead that enters the environment and the bodies of children in surrounding communities. These activities include a risk-reduction intervention in a community in Bihar State where informal battery manufacturing next to an elementary school has poisoned local children, a program to collectivize informal battery workers to improve their operations and reduce lead emissions, a lead source apportionment study to evaluate the relative contribution of informal battery recycling to elevated blood-lead levels, and a national program to improve the effectiveness of India’s Battery Management and Handling Rules.
One of the primary sources of lead poisoning for children in India is the informal recycling of used lead-acid batteries (ULAB), primarily car batteries. In fact, poor people in almost every urban center in the developing world can be found practicing this toxic livelihood, often in back yards and community spaces, unknowingly poisoning their children and families on a daily basis. Nationally, lead poisoning is widespread among India’s children. Existing studies estimate that Indian children under 12 have a mean blood lead level (BLL) of 10 µg/dl. It is estimated that diminished IQ in lead-poisoned children results in a loss of $236.1 billion (12.5% of India’s GDP) in economic productivity every year.
With funding from USAID, the European Commission, ERM and philanthropists, Pure Earth is expanding efforts to stop childhood lead poisoning.
Cleaning up lead pollution, protecting school children in Karlmalichak, India
Video credit: Thomas Cristofoletti/USAID
THE MULTI-PRONGED STRATEGY INCLUDES:
• Creation of policy recommendations to improve the effectiveness of India’s Battery Management/Handling Rules and its enforcement;
• Research to illustrate the health and economic damage caused by informal battery recycling;
• Four community-based programs to improve industrial practices and remediate lead contamination; and
• A public education campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of lead exposure.Pure Earth has convened key stakeholders in the public and private sectors who have agreed to update current battery management policies and participate in a study on sources of lead in Bihar.
The first community-based risk mitigation project was launched in Patna in the state of Bihar in 2017. A community education campaign and lead remediation was completed in 2018. Post-intervention blood lead tests of the affected children are underway. Efforts to relocate informal recyclers operating in residential area to an industrial cluster zone is in the planning stages.
In February 2020, Pure Earth completed the first lead source apportionment study carried out in India.
International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week
October 24-30th, 2021
Stay up to date with our work:
- India Had Most Pollution Deaths In 2019, Over 23.5 Lakh: Lancet Study
NDTV May 18th, 2022
- Immunity boosting turmeric: Is Lead a concern?
Daily Star Dec 27th, 2020
- Dangerous spices: why India’s cooking powders pose a risk of lead poisoning
The Guardian Dec 23rd, 2020
- Indian Architect Has Created An Algae Wall To Purify Polluted Water Without Harmful Chemicals
India Times Oct 15th, 2019
- These algae tiles can turn any building into a pollution-scrubbing machine
Fast Company Oct 14th, 2019
- Cleaning Up Bhopal
The Chemical Engineer Apr 1st, 2015
- Abandoned asbestos mines still a hazard in India
Associated Press Dec 22nd, 2014
- Abandoned asbestos mines still a hazard in India
New York Times Dec 22nd, 2014
- Ananta Aspen Centre and WWF India holds public session on Toxic pollution
ANI News Feb 19th, 2014
- Worms Clean Toxic Metals From Indian Soil
Huffington Post Oct 8th, 2012
- BJD youth wing seeks job for locals at Kalinganagar steel plants
India Times May 11th, 2012
Find public education materials and research:
- Bihar, India: How we celebrated a community, and helped them take action on lead poisoning (March 2019)
- Looking For Lead? No Problem! (June 2017)
- In Bihar, Toxic Lead 150 Times Over Limit (Feb 2016)
- India’s Lead Problem: More Than Just Instant Noodles (June 2015)
- Two Studies Reveal the Risks of India’s Unseen Pollution Menace (Nov 2014)
- Report from India: Lead Battery Recycling in the Right and Wrong Way (Feb 2014)
- Paying for Pollution Cleanup in India with a Small Benefit (May 2013)
- India’s Amazing Pollution Story (April 2013)
- A Solution To India’s Pollution Nightmare (Jan 2012)
- Pink Crocodiles and the New Front Against Pollution in India (Mar 2010)
- Off to India to Speak about Pollution and Economic Development (Mar 2010)
Our Partners and Donors
- Public Health Foundation of India
- India Society for Lead Awareness and Research
- India Lead-Zinc Development Association
- International Lead Association
- World Economic Forum’s Global Battery Alliance
- Trafigura Foundation