NO to Unregulated Lead Acid Batteries Recycling Campaign

  • Location
    Hayward, California
  • Status
  • Age Level
    14 to 18 Years
    19 to 25 Years

The Problem

We want to improve the method of reducing lead acid battery recycling pollution in water bodies in our community.

Our Plan

We will work on a project that advocates for lead acid battery recycling reform and builds on current methods of reducing lead in the water bodies such as the bioremediation of lead from water bodies through algal biomass.

Themes Addressed

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    Air Pollution
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    Water Pollution & Conservation
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    Zero Waste

The Benefit

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Here is how the project went:

We found a method of improving lead bioremediation by analyzing when to use pretreatment, so that the remediation will be effective and economically feasible in all areas worldwide. We also spoke with our district assemblymember about our work and our work was presented to scientists that are interested in applying our project's findings in the future.

Through this project I/we learned:

We learned the amount of perseverence we need to stick by our project. There were five times that we needed to start over, but we still persevered and completed our project. We also learned so much about the environmental injustice that occurs. Lead acid battery recycling is common in low-income areas and developing countries, and because lead testing is expensive and it is difficult to detect lead in water, so many people in these communities end up having lead poisoning and nuerological problems. This issue is not even popularized and goes unnoticed, so big companies continue dumping these lead acid batteries in areas for them to recycle it without informing them of the proper method of recycling these batteries. Our project indicated that there is a need to use the more expensive pretreated algae in higher concentrations of lead in water (as it is double the efficiency of untreated algae in higher concentrations), but in lower concentrations, it is not necessary and the remaining lead in water can be absorbed by organic bioadsorpents like banana peels.

What I/we might change:

We might change the time frame. Near the end of the project, we became very stressed, so I would say it would have been better to start this project earlier knowing our deadline to present our work. We ended up working upto 10 hours in the lab at the very end.

My/our favorite part of this project was:

My favorite part of this project was how much we learned about the intersection of science and activism. This issue of unregulated lead acid battery recycling is a social justice issue that is steadily impacted the lives of communities worldwide and there must be attention brought to this issue immediately as well as methods of healing these communities.

Some tips, tricks or fun facts about the project:

I would recommend designing your project plan extremely well before you start. We restarted 5 times because we didn't plan as well as we should have in the beginning.

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