New Delhi: The government will take serious note of any report about the ill-effects of dumping lithium-ion battery waste on the environment and is promoting circular economy for recycling of various waste materials, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari told Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. The issue of ill effect of lithium-ion battery waste dumping and on workers in manufacturing units of this storage system was raised by Congress member Ranjeet Ranjan during the question hour in the Rajya Sabha.
In a supplementary question, Ranjan stated that there is a research report which highlights the ill effect on the health of workers involved in the process of manufacturing lithium-ion batteries. The report also shows that the dumping of these batteries after completing life cycle affects the environment and poisons earth and deteriorates soil fertility, she stated.
In response, Gadkari said, "There is no such report or finding with us. If anything of such sort comes to our notice then we will consider it. We will take serious note of the issue and work out recycling of lithium-ion battery waste." This is futuristic technology. Our government is working in the direction with the futuristic technology, vision and planning, he stated.
The highway minister said that India will become the leading nation to export electric cars, buses, trucks in the next five years. He also told the House that the Union finance minister has talked about circular economy in her budget speech and under this we have car scrapping, rubber is recycled with bitumin and plastic is being used in road construction. He informed the House that the government has used municipal solid waste for road construction for protecting ecology and environment.
"Our country imports fossil fuels worth over Rs 16 lakh crore annually and there is no need to explain to Delhites that what is the level of pollution here," he stated.
Explaining about lithium battery, he stated that there are four chemistries and work is going on aluminium steel ion battery and aluminium air technology. He pointed out that where the cost (of running) is Rs 100 to 110 for petrol (vehicle), the electric vehicles cost only Rs 10. He said that the lithium-ion battery cost which was USD 150 per Kilowatt hour has now come down to USD 115 per kilowatt hour. He was of the view that the cost of electric vehicle is high at present compared to petrol or diesel vehicles.
"Electric vehicle is very popular. Only problem is that the cost difference between petrol/diesel vehicle and e-vehicle... the e-vehicle is high and it is depending upon the volume. when the volume will increase, I feel that, it is my estimates, I am not giving you the promise that within one an half year, the cost of the petrol, diesel and e-vehicle will be the same," he said.
He further informed the House that the sixth largest reserve of lithium-ion is found in Jammu & Kashmir and India imports 1,200 tonnes of lithium-ion.