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Toxic load of tannery industries situated in Kanpur.


Today Tannery is a big Industry. It's take a big "Industrial Employment" In Society, Kanpur is the top & famous in for tannery industries. Kanpur is the world famous for tannery industry after I.I.T. & their Education. But it is also famous for their pollution. The city of Kanpur also known their Pollution in world. Kanpur is the most polluted city in the world. The main cause of the pollution in the Kanpur is due to the tannery. Tannery wastes pollute the water of Ganga. Mostly tannery industries are situated in bank and side of Ganga place know as Jajmau. And it is the most polluted Mohalla in Kanpur. Unnao is one of the famous area of Tannery Industry.

What is tannery? Tanning in the process converting putrescible skin into non-putriscible "leather". Usually with tannin, and acidic Chemical Compound that prevents decomposition & often imparts converted into Leather. Chrome Tanning, the process most common today based on the use of chrome salts and requiring only a few hours. But tanneries effluent affected society. It effect and pollute the water and air which the people most and cause the different & dangerous types of disease in all the living component of the area.

Pollution from Leather Industries as we know and Pollution from Leather Industries we do not know: Urgent Need for a Comprehensive Investigation at Kanpur

An Eco Friends Report Background: Myths and Realities of Ganga Action Plan

As is known under Ganga Action Plan Phase I, facilities have been created to intercept, divert and treat 160 mld (million litres per day) of sewage and 9 mld of tannery effluents in Kanpur. Three treatment plants have been set up (5 mld Sewage Treatment Plant, STP, 36 mld Combined Effluent Treatment Plant, CEPT, and 130 mld STP) at Kanpur. The post treated water is being utilized either for irrigation of farmlands in the Jajmau region of Kanpur or is discharged into the river Ganga.

At Jajmau, Kanpur, the post treated sewage irrigation water being supplied to the farmland has led to widespread contamination of food chains, sharp decline in productivity of food crops, soil, vegetables, livestock and even milk; contamination of underground water meant for drinking purposes with attendant grave public health implications.

Also, the post-treated sewage water has been causing damage to the river ecology and peoples' health: the aquatic life in the river is being threatened (frequent fish kills are often reported) and the river water quality is being degraded.

Eco-Friends--IIT Kanpur Tests

It was to investigate these serious issues that Eco-friends commissioned the Facility for Ecological and Analytical Testing, Indian Institute of Technology (11T), Kanpur to conduct extensive tests to determine hazardous toxicants in the following: 1. raw tannery effluents; 2. raw Kanpur City sewage; 3. Post treated water (mix of tannery effluents and Kanpur city sewage) used either for irrigation or routed to river Ganga and 4. Post treated tannery effluents being generated from the Combined Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) at Unnao.

The samples were collected on September 9, 2002 and the results were received on September 20, 2002.

New Facts of Pollution from Leather Tanneries:

An analysis of the test results has brought out some starting facts. Alarming levels of Arsenic, Cadmium, Mercury, Nickel and Chrome(VI) in the above mentioned samples have been found. These are clear pointers to the fact that the leather manufactures at Kanpur and Unnao are using the same in their production cycle.

Till date, it was assumed that the only hazardous chemical being discharged by the leather industries was chromium, a known carcinogen. Our new findings have discovered even more lethal toxicants in their waste streams and the leather industries need to account for the same.

According to the World Health Organization, these heavy metals have a lethal impact on public health when they enter the food/water chain. Cadmium is a potent kidney toxicant and Mercury is a potent neurological toxicant. Chromium (VI) is a known human carcinogen. Other metals too are potent sources of renal, neurological, skin diseases and blue baby syndrome affecting infants.

Tannery Chemicals Groundwater Pollution, Kanpur

Blacksmith Action: In Kanpur, a city of 4 million people on the Ganges river, we are supporting a project to clean up hexavalent chromium, a carcinogen, in the groundwater in Noraiakheda. We will work with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), and a local NGO (Eco-Friends) to lobby the municipality to provide clean drinking water to residents and develop a cleanup strategy to propose to major international funders for chromium cleanup. In Jajmau, another area of Kanpur, Eco-Friends will monitor the safe disposal of toxic tannery sludge in a hazardous landfill site.

Noraiakheda, a settlement of some 30,000 people, has developed on a plume of tannery chemicals, including dyes and hexavalent chromium Cr(VI) used in the preservation of leather. Hexavalent chromium is a naturally occurring element that is considered by the World Health Organization and the US EPA as a human carcinogen, It has been linked to increased levels of lung cancer. Ingesting large amounts of it can cause kidney and liver damage and skin contact is known to lead to skin ulcers.

A basic chrome sulfate manufacturing plant for tanneries has left a legacy of chromium, lead, and pesticide (i.e. DDT and Lindane) pollution. Large amounts of the chemical waste produced here were buried on the grounds of the old plant. This contaminated material has polluted groundwater, and therefore wells and drinking water. A 1997 study conducted by the Central Pollution Control Board on the groundwater quality in Kanpur revealed Cr(VI) levels of 6.2 mg/1; the Indian government places the limit at .05 mg/I. In addition to chromium, the study high concentrations of iron, fluoride, alkalinity, coliform, pesticides, dissolved solids, and hardness. The second site chosen in Kanpur is on the banks of the Ganges, in Jajmau, with a population of around 50,000 people. Jajmau is on the fringes of the city and is home to a large number of tanneries (around 350) and unauthorized glue production units. The tanneries discharge their toxic waste laden with Cr(VI) into the sewage system. This effluent is carried through the main drainage system to the centralized treatment plant located in Jajmau. The treated water is then used for farming irrigation or released directly into the Ganges. The resulting sludge from the treated wastewater is left to dry on sludge beds and subsequently dumped outside of the treatment plant onto the banks of the Ganges, along a village tract that is the main passage linking twenty villages.

The sludge is a source of pollution and a danger to human health. Flammable methane trapped inside the sludge catches fire during the hot summer months, releasing harmful toxins into the air. Summer heat and winds also distribute dust particles from the sludge containing Cr(VI) and other toxins that are harmful when inhaled. Chromium from the sludge leaks into the river, subsoil, and groundwater--the primary source of drinking water for the surrounding community.

The Municipality of Kanpur is in the process of constructing a new hazardous waste dump site. Once the new dump site is completed in Jajmau, the old sludge that has been dumped near the river will be re-sited to the dump. However, it will be important to monitor the progression of this project, making sure that this facility opens in time and that the old sludge is in fact relocated. This will be monitored by Eco-Friends, and regular advocacy processes will be employed to ensure success.


As for the production of wastewater, over 80 percent of the organic pollution load in BOD terms emanates from the beamhouse (pretanning); much of this comes from degraded hide/skin and hair matter. The beamhouse is also the source of all non-limed and limed solid waste such as fleshing, trimming and waste split. As already mentioned, during the tanning process at least ca 300 kg of chemicals (lime, salt etc.) are added per ton of hides. Excess of non-used salts will appear in the wastewater. Because of the changing pH, these compounds can precipitate and contribute to the amount of solid waste or suspended solids (Department of the Environment, 1978). Every tanning process step, with exception of the crust finishing operations, produces wastewater. An average of 35 [m.sup.3] is produced per ton of raw hide. This wastewater contains:

* salts (CI), fat, protein, preservatives (soaking);

* lime and ammonium salts, ammonia, protein (hair), and sulphides (fleshing, trimming, bating);

* chromium (salts) and polyphenolic compounds (tanning); and

* dye and solvent chemicals (wet-finishing).

Solid waste produced consists of fleshings containing lime, chromium containing 'wet-blue' shavings and of trimmings (leather).

Water will not only have a diluting effect, it also increase the number of kg of BOD per ton of hides. Rajamani (1987) gives a BOD range of 1000-3000 mg/l depending upon the volume of water used and on other impurities. TNO gives BOD and COD values both for precipitated and mixed wastewater. BOD--and COD-values for precipitated wastewater show a reduction of BOD and COD of ca 50% (Pelckmans, undated). This implies that it is worth precipitating dissolved organic compounds and treating this as solid waste. It is known that treatment of solid waste can in general be undertaken without too many efforts and that the costs and energy required are lower than those for the treatment of wastewater.

Tanneries that perform the complete tanning procedure, produce mixed wastewater. The composition of this wastewater is not solely the result of separate waste streams that merge together. The different pH's and the different compounds precipitate while they stay dissolved in the wastewater from the separate processes (Pelckmans, undated). Most reports give reliable values for composite wastewater. Some reports only give data for the separate wastewater streams. These values should be used with great care and should not be merely added in order to arrive at a compound value. In the given table high and low values for BOD, COD, SS and [Cr.sup.3+] are given. This variation might be cause by a high amount (45 m3 per ton of hide) or low amount (25 [m.sup.3] per ton of hide) of water used during the tanning process. Mulder and Buijssen (1994) give values of 50 [m.sup.3] per ton of hide for traditional manufacturing processes of Wet-blue and 20 [m.sup.3] per ton of hide when water saving actions are applied.

Values are estimated from data from:

(1): Rajamani (1987); values from Kanpur, Pakistan. (2): Clonfero (1990); refering to a UNIDO-study (1975), (3): Taiganides (1987); an average and quit general value.

Cleaning Up Tannery Waste

New guidelines controlling the disposal of tannery effluent have been introduced by pollution control authorities in India. The guidelines are based on scientific analysis and results from an ALIAR supported project on tannery waste.

The project, Pollution of agricultural land due to waste disposal from tannery industries, characterized tannery wastes and effluent produced by Indian tanneries. These investigations revealed extensive chromium contamination of soils, surface water and groundwater.

In Tamil Nadu state where more than 60% of India's economically important tanning industry is located, tannery waste containing chromium and sodium compounds has, over many years, contaminated 55,000 ha of agricultural land. Thousands of farmers lost their farms, or part of their earning capacity through this contamination.

In many areas of Tamil Nadu, groundwater now cannot be consumed, forcing villagers to travel 4-5 km for water. Much of the groundwater is unsuitable for irrigation, and hundreds of wells in the region can no longer be used.

Under the project, modern laboratory facilities were established at Tamil Nadu Agricultural University and staff trained in their use. Using these facilities, researchers characterized tannery wastes and effluent produced by Indian tanneries. Investigations in Tamil Nadu and near Adelaide revealed extensive chromium contamination of soil, surface water and groundwater.

Soils sampled near tanneries in the Vellore area of India had chromium concentrations of up to 7% (70,000 mg/kg). Tannery sludges used in agriculture also have high chromium concentrations (up to 4% on a dry solids basis). Effluent treatment before disposal (as is now mandatory) produces chromium-rich sludges that are often used as soil additives for agricultural food crops, without information on the availability of the chromium to plants and mobility of chromium in soil.

An important outcome was demonstration of the mobility of chromium in the soil system. This had not previously been reported, and indicates that chromium-containing tannery waste cannot safely be disposed of to land without risk of contaminating ground and surface waters.

Water sampled from borewells located 2 km from a closed tannery at Walajapet had exceptionally high chromium content (more than 950 [micro]g/L); a typical background value in many regions of India is 4-7 [micro]L. And more than 80% of chromium was present as the toxic hexavalent form.

Remediation of soils contaminated with chromium will not only will help sustain agriculture but will also minimize adverse environmental impacts. Studies of chromium uptake by plants growing in soils amended with tannery sludge revealed marked differences between species, raising the prospect of selecting species that do not accumulate chromium, or do not move it to harvested parts.

Non-food crops also showed potential, as did revegetation with tree plantations and flower crops tolerant of chromium and salt. Guidelines proposed by the researchers identified critical factors that existing industries need to consider before disposing of their wastes, and stressed that environmental impact assessment is necessary before new industries are established. The guidelines included water table depth, and characteristics of the waste, including odour, total chromium content, chemical and biological oxygen demand, nitrate, phosphate, sodium, chloride and heavy metals such as cadmium and arsenic.

Name and Address of Tanneries situated in Kanpur

1.Aslam Tannery, opposite Sultan Tannery Jajmau, Kanpur.2. Allad-Dad Tannery, 99/85-A Jajmau Road, Kanpur.3. Indiau National Tannery, Jajmau, Kanpur.4. Pioneer Tanneries and Glue Works P. Ltd., 89/75-Jajmau, Kanpur.5. Seven Tanners, Jajmau, Kanpur. 6. Sikandar Tanners, 97/83-Jajmau, Kanpur.7. Sultan Tanners, 230-Jajmau Road, Kanpur. 8. Sun Tanners India, Hanspuram Naubasta, Kanpur. 9. Sunrise Tannery, 150 feet Road, Jajmau, Kanpur.10. Super Style Tanners Pvt. Ltd., 79-Jajmau, Kanpur. 11. Super Tannery India, Jajmau, Kanpur.12.U.P. Tannery Co. Ltd., 92/131--Hiraman Plaza, Kanpur.13. Upper India Tannery, 38/32--Jajmau, Kanpur.14. Vikas Tannery, 104/322--Sisamau, Kanpur.15. Jai Tannery, 113/153--Swaroop Nagar, Kanpur. 16. Loonev Tanners, Block -C, 515-Defence Colony, Kanpur. 17. Mirza Tanners Ltd. 14/6--Civil Lines, Kanpur.18. New Light Tannery Pvt. Ltd., Jajmau, Kanpur. 19. Night Tanners Pvt. Ltd., 113/208--Swaroop Nagar, Kanpur. 20. Northern Tannery, 54/121--F. Khana, Kanpur.

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D.P. Rao *, (1), Rajul Saxena (2), Vishal Saxena (3) and Abha Singh (4)

* (1,2,4) Department of Chemistry, D.A-V. College, Kanpur-208001, India (3) Department of Botany, D.A-V. College, Kanpur-208001, India *(1) Corresponding author: D.P. Rao

E-mail Address:
Central Pollution Control Board

Ministry of Environment & Forests, Govt of India, Parivesh Bhawan, East
Arjun Nagar, Delhi--110032


Environment Standards


                                                 Concentration Limit
Type of tanneries    Parameter                    not exceed, mg/l
                                                     (except pH)
Chrome & vegetable
                     pH                             6.5 to 9.0
                     SS                          Not to exceed 600
                     Chromium concentration
                     after treatment in the             45
                     chrome waste water stream
Vegetable tanneries  pH                             6.5 to 9.0
                     SS                          Not to exceed 600

Tanneries : Effluent Standards

             (1)          (2)          (3)

BOD          110          40-100       80
COD          265          120-280
SS           216          70-200
Cr           8.8          5
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Kanpur, India
Author:Rao, D.P.; Saxena, Rajul; Saxena, Vishal; Singh, Abha
Publication:International Journal of Applied Environmental Sciences
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Sep 1, 2009
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