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Closing Smelters Is no Solution

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The closure of Smelters in the United States solves no pollution problems. Rather it shifts goal posts. Instead, the move will shift the problem to the neighboring Mexico. The US has the largest number of passenger vehicles in the world, with number running into millions. The amount of lead and acid the batteries they use release into the environment is a great hazard. The vehicles use up to 750 million batteries yearly, translating into a huge number of discarded batteries that could release lead and acid poisons to the environment. However, Exide technologies had invested in smelters, a branch company that recycles used batteries for huge profits. This means the batteries are not discarded in land mills; they therefore pose no hazards to the citizens. Exide technologies Ltd has now decided to close shop in the US, in a bid to reduce environmental pollution in the US; the smoke and the toxins from the smelters are harmful to the workers. The irony of this move is that the discarded batteries are being exported to the neighboring Mexico. The smelters in Mexico are not up to standard as the ones in the US. This means there are no controlled emissions of poisons to the environment. In fact recent studies indicate the workers have more lead poison in their blood than an average worker in the US smelters. The lead and toxic emissions in Mexican smelters are not as controlled as the smelters in the US. This means more environmental hazards to Mexicans.

Companies are usually torn between decisions of whether to consider the economic gains or the health hazards some of their products pose to the environment. Smelters took the right direction to close their battery recycling company. Their priority was health of the workers and cleanliness of the environment. The 5-0 vote saw the Frisco city authorities’ decision to preserve the environment prevail. This is in line with city council’s authority to ensure a cleaner environment, devoid of pollution. In fact, cities ought to be careful when it comes to closing businesses they do not desire. Companies always invest in places they think business will not go down in. The company employs a considerable number of employees and the tax it pays to the authorities is quite significant. There is nothing peculiar about the Exide Technologies Ltd deciding to close the smelters company in the US. Science has brought into perspective the threat posed by lead and acid poisons to the environment as well as the workers in such companies. Some of these problems were ignored before, but due to scientific developments, people have come to know that lead from the batteries have a direct impact on their health; lead causes high blood pressure and heart diseases. In that regard, closing of the smelters is in the public’s interest. The air quality, in terms of the amounts of lead in the air the citizen’s breathe, is at an all time poorest. More and more people arte increasingly being exposed to lead; they breathe it in. Frisco is therefore within its right and in the interest of the people, despite legal challenges, to close smelters.

The move to close smelters is a good one in light of environmental safety; the move will contain the hazards posed by the smoke, lead and acid poisons contained in the batteries. City councils are charged with the responsibility of ensuring healthy environments and good health among the people. The major question that arises, and will generate so much debate is. Considering the massive investment in the smelters; in terms of capital and infrastructure, what does this move mean to the Exide technologies limited? The choice is between economy and health.

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