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Kanpur: A city being killed by pollution
North Indian city famed for its tanneries is being choked by untreated effluents that are blighting its population.
Last Modified: 06 Oct 2013 12:28
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The city of Kanpur in the north Indian state Uttar Pradesh is famed for its leather industry, meeting national and international demands for superior quality leather.

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The industry, which employs thousands and earns a lot of revenue, however, has a notorious side to it. 

It is a source of hazardous pollution that, environmentalists say, is gradully killing the city.

Each day, the tanneries pump out about 30 crore litres of polluted water into the adjacent Ganges river. The city's water treatment unit, however, has a capacity of treating 17 crore litres per day.

Kanpur also generates 400 tonnes of solid waste. 

The rampant pollution has contaminated ground water sources. There are reports of increasing deformaties among new born babies. Farmers complain their fields are turning toxic.

This photo-essay portrays the tragedy that has overtaken Kanpur.

Text by Sudhiti Naskar


/Arindam Mukherjee/ Al Jazeera
Karan Ishad (5) of Jana village in Jajmau area is a neurological patient with physical and mental deformities since his birth. These kinds of diseases are very common in the villages around Jajmau area. The local media and doctors relate it with chromium contamination. Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India.
/Arindam Mukherjee/ Al Jazeera
Buffalos graze on the bank of Ganges while people of Jana village are in their daily chores. Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India.
/Arindam Mukherjee/ Al Jazeera
A young girl working in a crop field at Jajmau, Kanpur. The soil and ground water are contaminated with high level of chromium in Jajmau area. Uttar Pradesh, India.
/Arindam Mukherjee/ Al Jazeera
Fumes coming out of a factory in Jajmau area in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India.
/Arindam Mukherjee/ Al Jazeera
A Hindu cremation is going on by the side of the river Ganges at Jajmau area in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India.
/Arindam Mukherjee/ Al Jazeera
A drain from the tanneries pours chromium contaminated untreated waste water in a canal at Jajmau area in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India. The government run treatment plant is faulty and has failed to deliver to its promise of clean, treated water.
/Arindam Mukherjee/ Al Jazeera
Chemicals are stored inside a Tannery for Tanning purpose. Chromium is one of the key chemicals used in this process. Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India
/Arindam Mukherjee/ Al Jazeera
Men working in a tannery with bare hands without any safety gear, in Jajmau area, Kanpur. Uttar Pradesh, India.
/Arindam Mukherjee/ Al Jazeera
Iqbal (19) transfers leather on his head for further processing in a tannery in Kanpur. These leathers contain chemicals which are harmful for skin. Uttar Pradesh, India.
/Arindam Mukherjee/ Al Jazeera
Men working in a tannery in Jajmau area in Kanpur. Kanpur is known for its leather industry - supplying national and international demands for superior quality leather, generating annual revenue of billions of INR. Uttar Pradesh, India.
/Arindam Mukherjee/ Al Jazeera
Chromium contaminated waste water, containing harmful chemicals, from of the tanneries pouring into the Ganges at Jajmau area in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India.
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images:
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captions:
Karan Ishad (5) of Jana village in Jajmau area is a neurological patient with physical and mental deformities since his birth. These kinds of diseases are very common in the villages around Jajmau area. The local media and doctors relate it with chromium contamination. Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India.;*;Buffalos graze on the bank of Ganges while people of Jana village are in their daily chores. Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India.;*;A young girl working in a crop field at Jajmau, Kanpur. The soil and ground water are contaminated with high level of chromium in Jajmau area. Uttar Pradesh, India.;*;Fumes coming out of a factory in Jajmau area in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India.;*;A Hindu cremation is going on by the side of the river Ganges at Jajmau area in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India.;*;A drain from the tanneries pours chromium contaminated untreated waste water in a canal at Jajmau area in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India. The government run treatment plant is faulty and has failed to deliver to its promise of clean, treated water.;*;Chemicals are stored inside a Tannery for Tanning purpose. Chromium is one of the key chemicals used in this process. Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India;*;Men working in a tannery with bare hands without any safety gear, in Jajmau area, Kanpur. Uttar Pradesh, India.;*;Iqbal (19) transfers leather on his head for further processing in a tannery in Kanpur. These leathers contain chemicals which are harmful for skin. Uttar Pradesh, India.;*;Men working in a tannery in Jajmau area in Kanpur. Kanpur is known for its leather industry - supplying national and international demands for superior quality leather, generating annual revenue of billions of INR. Uttar Pradesh, India.;*;Chromium contaminated waste water, containing harmful chemicals, from of the tanneries pouring into the Ganges at Jajmau area in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India. Daylife ID:
104ab931510070ccc38720a664d50a84
Photographer:
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Image Source:
Arindam Mukherjee/ Al Jazeera;*;Arindam Mukherjee/ Al Jazeera;*;Arindam Mukherjee/ Al Jazeera;*;Arindam Mukherjee/ Al Jazeera;*;Arindam Mukherjee/ Al Jazeera;*;Arindam Mukherjee/ Al Jazeera;*;Arindam Mukherjee/ Al Jazeera;*;Arindam Mukherjee/ Al Jazeera;*;Arindam Mukherjee/ Al Jazeera;*;Arindam Mukherjee/ Al Jazeera;*;Arindam Mukherjee/ Al Jazeera
Gallery Source:
Daylife
Daylife Raw Data:
The slow poison of Kanpur's leather industryThe city of Kanpur in the north Indian state Uttar Pradesh is known for its leather industry, supplying national and international demands for superior quality leather. Though the industry generates annual revenue of billions of INR, it is tremendously hazardous to the environment as the leather making process involves use of toxic element like chromium, sulfur etc. Every day, the tanneries produce thousands of liters of polluted water that go down the drains through the villages, and fields, and finally to the Ganges. According to official data, tanneries together with the city drains are discharging 30 crore liters polluted water in the Ganges per day. While, Jal Nigamís polluted water treatment unit has a capacity of treating not more than 17 crore liters a day. Everyday, 400 tonnes of solid waste is reported to be discharged in addition to this huge volume of chromium laced water. A Public Interest Litigation (in 2011) stated that chromium pollution in Ganga while passing by Kanpur was 248 milligram per litre, against a permissible level of 2 milligram per litre - nearly 124 times more than the permissible level. The fact that government-run treatment plant remains faulty part due the frequent power cuts intensifies the problem. As a result, chromium has seeped to the ground water level blighting the lives of potentially 30,000 people (as estimated by Blacksmith Institute) from villagers in the neighbourhood. Now babies are being born with disabilities, farmers working in the fields are losing their fingers and toes. Their skin is marked with boils. Medical investigations have linked these with chemical pollution. Cultivation has been slashed by 50% and researches have shown presence of chromium in the crop and buffalo milk. The whole area is at the brink of a serious melt down because of this high level of pollution. http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/leather_industry_kanpur_indiaen-ussupport@newscred.comUntitled Site10Thu, 03 Oct 2013 10:21:31 GMTThe slow poisonhttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/leather_industry_kanpur_india/slideshow/the-slow-poison/6dd31764b2a7029954d58e3c6a0808b2Karan Ishad (5) of Jana village in Jajmau area is a neurological patient with physical and mental deformities since his birth. These kinds of diseases are very common in the villages around Jajmau area. The local media and doctors relate it with chromium contamination. Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India.http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/leather_industry_kanpur_india/slideshow/the-slow-poison/6dd31764b2a7029954d58e3c6a0808b2Arindam Mukherjee/ Al JazeeraThe slow poisonKaran Ishad (5) of Jana village in Jajmau area is a neurological patient with physical and mental deformities since his birth. These kinds of diseases are very common in the villages around Jajmau area. The local media and doctors relate it with chromium contamination. Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India.The slow poisonhttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/leather_industry_kanpur_india/slideshow/the-slow-poison/a6142ac2dcaeb13cb694b89b8bd7cc57Buffalos graze on the bank of Ganges while people of Jana village are in their daily chores. Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India.http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/leather_industry_kanpur_india/slideshow/the-slow-poison/a6142ac2dcaeb13cb694b89b8bd7cc57Arindam Mukherjee/ Al JazeeraThe slow poisonBuffalos graze on the bank of Ganges while people of Jana village are in their daily chores. Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India.The slow poisonhttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/leather_industry_kanpur_india/slideshow/the-slow-poison/454ce28d1ca291a72f9d2cc1ab36046dA young girl working in a crop field at Jajmau, Kanpur. The soil and ground water are contaminated with high level of chromium in Jajmau area. Uttar Pradesh, India.http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/leather_industry_kanpur_india/slideshow/the-slow-poison/454ce28d1ca291a72f9d2cc1ab36046dArindam Mukherjee/ Al JazeeraThe slow poisonA young girl working in a crop field at Jajmau, Kanpur. The soil and ground water are contaminated with high level of chromium in Jajmau area. Uttar Pradesh, India.The slow poisonhttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/leather_industry_kanpur_india/slideshow/the-slow-poison/209ff57c8355a510b787a3c1ef3b1051Fumes coming out of a factory in Jajmau area in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India.http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/leather_industry_kanpur_india/slideshow/the-slow-poison/209ff57c8355a510b787a3c1ef3b1051Arindam Mukherjee/ Al JazeeraThe slow poisonFumes coming out of a factory in Jajmau area in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India.The slow poisonhttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/leather_industry_kanpur_india/slideshow/the-slow-poison/a44769f49dde40c42b00242b1147f85fA Hindu cremation is going on by the side of the river Ganges at Jajmau area in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India.http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/leather_industry_kanpur_india/slideshow/the-slow-poison/a44769f49dde40c42b00242b1147f85fArindam Mukherjee/ Al JazeeraThe slow poisonA Hindu cremation is going on by the side of the river Ganges at Jajmau area in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India.The slow poisonhttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/leather_industry_kanpur_india/slideshow/the-slow-poison/b3281af2b5372be4127ab3c026946e14A drain from the tanneries pours chromium contaminated untreated waste water in a canal at Jajmau area in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India. The government run treatment plant is faulty and has failed to deliver to its promise of clean, treated water.http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/leather_industry_kanpur_india/slideshow/the-slow-poison/b3281af2b5372be4127ab3c026946e14Arindam Mukherjee/ Al JazeeraThe slow poisonA drain from the tanneries pours chromium contaminated untreated waste water in a canal at Jajmau area in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India. The government run treatment plant is faulty and has failed to deliver to its promise of clean, treated water.The slow poisonhttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/leather_industry_kanpur_india/slideshow/the-slow-poison/9858bc3c788889938e33a5e35ce0761cChemicals are stored inside a Tannery for Tanning purpose. Chromium is one of the key chemicals used in this process. Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, Indiahttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/leather_industry_kanpur_india/slideshow/the-slow-poison/9858bc3c788889938e33a5e35ce0761cArindam Mukherjee/ Al JazeeraThe slow poisonChemicals are stored inside a Tannery for Tanning purpose. Chromium is one of the key chemicals used in this process. Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, IndiaThe slow poisonhttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/leather_industry_kanpur_india/slideshow/the-slow-poison/7fa1286890455ceaaf78392039a8cd8fMen working in a tannery with bare hands without any safety gear, in Jajmau area, Kanpur. Uttar Pradesh, India.http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/leather_industry_kanpur_india/slideshow/the-slow-poison/7fa1286890455ceaaf78392039a8cd8fArindam Mukherjee/ Al JazeeraThe slow poisonMen working in a tannery with bare hands without any safety gear, in Jajmau area, Kanpur. Uttar Pradesh, India.The slow poisonhttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/leather_industry_kanpur_india/slideshow/the-slow-poison/f59d7a81d25f229a2bee2fe179c5261bIqbal (19) transfers leather on his head for further processing in a tannery in Kanpur. These leathers contain chemicals which are harmful for skin. Uttar Pradesh, India.http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/leather_industry_kanpur_india/slideshow/the-slow-poison/f59d7a81d25f229a2bee2fe179c5261bArindam Mukherjee/ Al JazeeraThe slow poisonIqbal (19) transfers leather on his head for further processing in a tannery in Kanpur. These leathers contain chemicals which are harmful for skin. Uttar Pradesh, India.The slow poisonhttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/leather_industry_kanpur_india/slideshow/the-slow-poison/d31dead779090175796445f8361d434cMen working in a tannery in Jajmau area in Kanpur. Kanpur is known for its leather industry - supplying national and international demands for superior quality leather, generating annual revenue of billions of INR. Uttar Pradesh, India.http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/leather_industry_kanpur_india/slideshow/the-slow-poison/d31dead779090175796445f8361d434cArindam Mukherjee/ Al JazeeraThe slow poisonMen working in a tannery in Jajmau area in Kanpur. Kanpur is known for its leather industry - supplying national and international demands for superior quality leather, generating annual revenue of billions of INR. Uttar Pradesh, India.The slow poisonhttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/leather_industry_kanpur_india/slideshow/the-slow-poison/6268c26c98fd7f78652addc88a99b4f6Chromium contaminated waste water, containing harmful chemicals, from of the tanneries pouring into the Ganges at Jajmau area in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India.http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/leather_industry_kanpur_india/slideshow/the-slow-poison/6268c26c98fd7f78652addc88a99b4f6Arindam Mukherjee/ Al JazeeraThe slow poisonChromium contaminated waste water, containing harmful chemicals, from of the tanneries pouring into the Ganges at Jajmau area in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India.

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