Khulna Lead Remediation Project
Department of Environment (DoE), Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), Environmental Science Discipline of Khulna University, Khulna Local Government and Police
Read the full report here: Lead Remediation Project at Mohammadnagar, Khulna
Pure Earth has uncovered a recycling site for used lead-acid batteries (ULAB) in Mohammadnagar, located in the Zalma Union of Batiaghata Upazilla in Khulna, as part of their Toxic Site Inspection Program (TSIP). The primary objectives of this project were to enhance the well-being of children and residents in the Mohammadnagar area by reducing their exposure to toxic lead (Pb) pollution resulting from previous ULAB recycling activities. Additionally, it aimed to demonstrate the feasibility, affordability, and effectiveness of Pb remediation projects in Bangladesh, thereby reducing future Pb pollution risks in Mohammadnagar and similar neighborhoods due to informal ULAB recycling.
The initial site screening and preliminary site assessment (PSA) were conducted by Pure Earth, revealing Pb concentrations exceeding 400 ppm, with the highest recorded at 12,100 ppm. Subsequently, Khulna University (KU) carried out a detailed site assessment (DSA). Pure Earth Bangladesh then collaborated with Khulna University and the Department of Environment to initiate the remediation process, which spanned from April 4th, 2023, to June 15th, 2023, lasting approximately 2.5 months.
The Mohammadnagar clean-up project encompassed several key components, including community and stakeholder engagement, considerations for worker safety and equipment, preliminary and detailed site assessments, waste management and the collection of residual battery cases, remediation activities on the north, west, and south sections of the ULAB recycling site, installation of fencing and tree planting on the dumping sites, house and yard cleaning, evaluation of Pb concentrations in vegetation samples, distribution of project activity leaflets, and the establishment of a Grievance Redress Mechanism (GRM).
Notably, some dumping sites were situated in waterlogged areas, while the south-side dumping site had been filled with sand. Overall, approximately 1350 square meters of the affected area underwent cleaning during the remediation process. Post-remediation, a final XRF measurement was conducted, all of which indicated Pb concentrations below 400 ppm, confirming the success of the remediation efforts.
To mark the conclusion of the project, a closing ceremony was held, attended by Md. Iqbal Hossain, Director of the Department of Environment in Khulna. During the ceremony, trees were planted in the areas where lead had been remediated, in collaboration with Khulna University and the Pure Earth team.
This project serves as a practical and viable example of implementing cost-effective, scalable methods to address Pb contamination, inspiring stakeholders, policymakers, and communities to take action against this persistent global issue. Through this initiative, Pure Earth has raised awareness regarding the dangers of Pb contamination and has educated residents on simple measures to protect themselves and their families. Furthermore, the project successfully reduced Pb concentrations in surface soil to below 400 ppm, meeting the EPA standard for residential areas where children play. It has also enhanced the capacity of Pure Earth’s project partners at Khulna University, the Department of Environment (DoE), and other stakeholders to undertake similar work in the future.