Lead Acid Battery Project

In India, the technologies used by lead smelters, battery re-conditioners and allied trades in Lead Acid battery sector are mostly environment unfriendly. Realising this, on May 25, 2000, the Government of India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) gave notification of draft Battery (Management and Handling) Rules 2000 under the Environment Protection Act, 1986. After discussions, the Battery (Management and Handling) Rules have been enacted on May 16, 2001. Implementation of the new legislation is expected to improve the environmental performance of the Lead Acid Battery sector. Hence there was a need for capacity building and training for the people involved with this sector so that they are better prepared for the ensuing changes and associated improvements in environmental performance.

Understanding this situation CUTS-CSPAC undertook a project with the support of the Ministry of Environment and Forests. CUTS-CSPAC has successfully executed the final phase of the one-year project titled “Targeted lobbying and training initiative to promote the Ecomark for primary batteries/cells and facilitate environment friendly lead-smelting.” Five training workshops along with one National Consultation and Expert Group Meeting were organised.

A monograph titled “Greening the Lead Acid Battery Sector: Structure, Problems and Needs” has been written. It tries to explain the structure and problems of the lead acid battery sector in India and outlines options to address the problems in the future.

Safe Drinking Water

In the first phase of the project, CUTS Centre for Sustainable Production & Consumption has come out with a publication on safe drinking water which looked into failures of water supply pipes. It exposes the negligence of water supply utilities, educates the consumers and provokes people to take action. It also carries a special section on asbestos, as asbestos pipes, though banned in many countries of the world, are still used in India very widely.

The second phase is documentation of the rights of consumers under various municipal and state laws to get potable drinking water. Drinking water is a state subject in India, and the States are responsible for availability and access of safe drinking water facilities.

The right to water exists in various State legislations and relevant provisions. However, in some legislations, it is defeated by a general waiver of the government’s obligations, which rely on numerous phrases and clauses, such as, “subject to availability if resources”, “as fas as practical”, “try to supply” etc. This publication exposes such unwillingness on the part of the State/Municipalities to ensure adequate supply of wholesome water, fit for human consumption. It shows to the consumer, through various case laws, her/his rights to water.

The third phase will deal with related rights of the consumer and the health and environmental hazards in relation to the campaign. This documentation will show various problems in India for supplying safe drinking water with the help of case studies. We will also try to make several recommendations for the availability of safe drinking water.

Is it Safe?

In its continuing work under the Centre for Sustainable Production & Consumption programme, CUTS has recently prepared a project proposal for survey, research and preparation of an authoritative publication on issues relating to consumer safety, for 20 different sectors in India, such that we may ultimately have better standards for the nation and ignorant consumers are not duped or harmed:

  • Consumers in this country will get more aware of their safety related rights and will push for improved legislations, standards and implementation on safety related matters;

  • Breaches of safety norms will attract strong protest from consumers and action from regulatory authorities;

  • Loss of life from unsafe products/services will be reduced;

  • Manufacturers/traders/service providers will be more aware about consumer rights to safe products/services and would behave more responsibly;

  • Regulatory bodies like the BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) will be implementing standards proactively.

For public education on the safety aspects of various products/services CUTS is publishing short articles in national newspapers. Till date one article on railway safety and another on air safety has been published. Many more are in the pipeline. This collection of articles will be published as a book: Is it safe?

Project on Information & Education on Ecofrig

This is the first of a series of projects on sensitising manufacturers and informing consumers to promote environmentally sound technologies. One of the first such project is on disseminating information and educating consumers about Ecofrig–a refrigerator made with environmentally safe hydrocarbon technology–with the view to promote sustainable production and consumption patterns.

Project on Social and Environmental Awareness in Sanganer, Rajasthan

This is a pilot project, at the state level, on testing people’s awareness towards sustainable consumption and production. A survey on people’s awareness regarding social and environmental conditions in and around Sanganer industrial area of Jaipur, Rajasthan was conducted. The project is supported by the National Productivity Council, New Delhi, India. The results of this survey would feed into the Sustainable Rajasthan project.

Contact Us


3 Suren Tagore Road, 2nd Floor
Calcutta 700 019, India
Ph: 91.33.2460 1424
Fax: 91.33.2440 7669
E-mail: cuts-calcutta@cuts.org, cspac@cuts-international.org

Copyright 2005, Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS), All rights reserved.
D-217, Bhaskar Marg, Bani Park, Jaipur 302 016, India
Phone: +91(0)141-228 2821-3, Fax: 91.141.2282485