E-mobility and the village of Ipetoro in Nigeria

Actually, a blog post on the topic of drinking water should appear here, it also has to do with drinking water in a broader sense - but for current reasons I have decided to make a personal comment on the Mirror items To write "Poisoned Village" (No. 51 / 15.12.2018). 

Due to climate change, positive developments are finally taking place in the mobility sector these days. Moving away from the internal combustion engine - this is certainly to be welcomed from a European perspective in terms of reducing environmental pollution.

The answer is currently e-mobility. You are probably familiar with many of the positive arguments in favor of "clean" technology. A technology that has the potential to fundamentally change a lot. It is probably even more - a technological leap and we should do it with all care and with all the knowledge of the 21st century.

When discussing e-mobility, I always miss a few answers to a few important questions.

If you look at the heart of the "battery", critical questions are usually raised in the direction of improving storage capacity and increasing weight. Far too seldom is it discussed where the basic materials for the batteries are actually obtained from. Where these so-called "rare earths" are mined, which are needed for production and what environmental pollution is caused by this.   

In the mirror article mentioned above, however, a completely different side of the battery is illuminated - namely where it is recycled and under what conditions it is recycled there. 

The report tells of a small village in Nigeria where such a processing plant is located. There the lead is recovered from the batteries and processed so that it can be re-installed in new batteries. Lead is an important component of batteries and has a market value. Over 11 million tons of lead were used worldwide for the production of batteries in 2017, half of which comes from recycled batteries. Sounds good. 

The working conditions for those who work in the processing plant in Ipetoro are apparently not. 

The lead pollution in the soil and in the water in the village of Ipetoro seems to be well above the limit values. This has serious health consequences and so the blood values of the residents, which were recently tested by an independent body, look terrible.

If you read this items  this makes it absolutely clear what dramatic effects the expansion of e-mobility can have. Is the demand for lead increasing by leaps and bounds around the world, what about other materials? Are there any useful technologies that guarantee safe processing?

It is therefore important to consider, monitor and improve the entire life cycle of all components.

The processing should actually take place here in Europe with our standards. If it takes place elsewhere, the same standards should apply - no health hazards and no danger to the environment.

E-mobility is only a sensible technology that can (in part) replace the combustion engine if these conditions can be guaranteed.

Mirror video from Ipetoro

DI Stephan Bruck

(Photo credit: © iStockphoto.com_John Bloor)