Thursday, December 2, 2010

PIC 1: The smelter owner took us to an amazing South Indian lunch and honored us with some necklaces (lead-free I might add). He was very excited to have visitors from the US and took good care of us.

This is the infamous abandoned Chromium Plant at Ranipet. Chromium (Cr) is used to fix collagen in hides ultimately producing leather. Practically all leather worldwide is processed this way. India is has the worlds second largest Cr deposits and dozens of American and Italian shoe companies. Trivalent Chromium is insoluble but hexavalent is water soluble and a confirmed human carcinogen. The "neon" yellow is all Cr+6 (YIKES).

PIC 2: A local man walking through runoff containing hexavalent Cr. (no comment necessary)

PIC 3: Everything you see is a hugh Cr waste pile (10 meters tall). Rainwater runoff seeps out of waste pile and migrates through community. This Pool was dug to try to collect leachate but was abandoned. Chromium swim anyone?

PIC 4: This is my second visit to Ranipet and nothing has changed in 6 years. Owners are bankrupt and gone; who will clean this up?? Are you wearing leather shoes?? Uhmm??

Video of Ranipet run-off across the road from people's homes.

Pictures of Smelter - Vellore

Here are some pics of the Pb smelter in Vellore (3 hr West of Chennai).
(1) CLD surrounded by batteries (and smiling??); (2) Standing next to one of 2 rotary kiln ovens and smiling again.. (battery plates, charcoal, soda ash are all fired up for 3 hrs); (3) this is how they split the batteries and take out the plates (wow). (4) A family across the street standing on high lead level soil.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Pb Refinery and Puducherry

Yesterday we went a lead refinery.  They refine lead alloys and mixtures into pure lead or alloys ordered by their customers.  They mainly import their raw material and export their products.  They do not smelt lead oxides.

In  the evening we Strolled around Puducherry barefoot in the rain, wandered into a hindu temple and a famous ashram, and ate french food and paneer all thanks to our cultural directuor, EC.

Today we went to a battery recycling facility.  They showed us such wonderful hospitality.  The plant was very compact and they process about 300 tons of lead per month compared to 2000-3000 per month at the first smelter.  This smelter was located near a few homes though.  We had tali plates for lunch and then finished the day at the Ranipet "super un-funded" site.  This is an abdandoned chromium ore processing facility.  The water literally runs bright neon yellow (Think: TMNT) out of this place and into the community through a wetlands area and into a lake.

Tomorrow EC and I are off to New Delhi for the day and then to Agra on Saturday.  The end of the India marathon begins tomorrow.  Schedule below;

5:00 am car to Chennai airport
7:25 am flight to New Delhi
5:00 am car to Agra
7:10 pm flight to Chennai
2:00 am flight to Europe
no clue what time from Europe to NYC

Wish us luck!! May not have time to blog until we get back to NYC.  PJC may be able to pick up the slack. Stay tuned!