India’s growing appetite for metal has increased the demand of scrap metal but that is not where the problem lies. The problem is retrieving the scrap metal.
Many of these scrap metals are remains of weapons containing hazardous materials and toxic gases. In 2004, while melting the scrap metals in a Delhi factory, ten workers died due to blast. Later, it was found out that some of the scrap metals were brought from the war zone of Iran. In June of 2008, two boys were injured in Tamil Nadu as they were handling old cartridges while looking for metals in a scrap pile. After the Delhi incident, Indian government went on to create a law to impose a ban on using war zone materials. However, the law has not been implemented yet.
There are about 4,500 foundries in India that extracts metal from various scrap of which a large amount comes from the war zone of Iraq and Afghanistan. War scrap is cheaper because most of the developed countries have imposed ban on importing war scrap and the rest of them have very strict rules.
The problem is, many of these scrap contains hazardous materials even nuclear wastes which could pose serious threat to environment but the demand of steel is very high in India. In such a situation, many people are afraid that existing rules and policies would not be enough to inquire about the quality of the scrap and where are they coming from. The current regulations have many loopholes. If the Indian government does not take necessary precautions then it could lead to deaths of more people and serious environmental degradation.