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Electric cars might be clean and green but as it turns out, their power source is not ethical. Amnesty International has sent a notification to manufacturers of electric vehicles, asking them to come up with an ethical battery within the next five years.
How can a battery be ethical, you ask? Here is the explanation. It isn't the actual battery that is being asked to be ethical but the directive has been pointed towards battery manufacturers. Lithium-ion batteries used in most modern electric vehicles are made of multiple materials and Cobalt is the most important resource used to produce such batteries.
Ever since the demand for Electric vehicles has increased, more and more manufacturers are coming with these environment-friendly vehicles. With more development and demand in the field, comes more production of Cobalt and this is exactly where the problem lies.
Cobalt is a natural resource that isn't available everywhere in the world. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is one of the few countries rich in Cobalt. According to statistics, 50 percent of all the Cobalt used to produce Li-ion batteries comes from the DRC.
This is where the question of ethics comes in. In the DRC, Cobalt is hand-dug out of the ground in most mines and these mines expose the workers to health risks. What makes this whole scenario worse is the fact that most cobalt mines in the DRC employs children and this has a drastic effect on their health as it can cause health problems and weaknesses that can prolong for a lifetime.
Ever since demand for Electric Vehicles has increased across the globe, more and more children are being employed in such mines as the owners of the mine would want to make more money out of the cobalt resource in their land.
The situation is only set to become worse as demand for Cobalt is set to touch 2,00,000 tonnes by 2020. All this put together means that, a person trying to be clean environment-friendly by purchasing an electric car in developed countries is indirectly pushing a child to work in a Cobalt mine in an under-developed country.
Thoughts On Amnesty International's Directive To EV Battery Manufacturers
The only solution for this mess is to have a mechanised cobalt mining system in place that relies less on human beings being on the field. It would be a hundred times better than a child digging up cobalt.
However, this will also be an expensive affair and will face stiff opposition from the cobalt mafia in the DRC. It is up to giant corporations taking up production of EVs to do something about this menace.