The tannery industry could be a $1 billion business in Bangladesh. Until recently, the bulk of the tanneries were located at Hazaribagh and was polluting the Buriganga River with over forty heavy metals including Chromium. Pure Earth listed the Buriganga River as one of the highest ten polluted sites in the world, including Chernobyl. In July 2017, the court of Bangladesh issued an order to chop down electricity to Hazaribogh to force the relocation of tanneries to the newly established supposedly green Savar Tannery Park. Plans for the park began in 2003, but relocation deadlines were repeatedly missed. Many tanneries failed to relocate even after the court’s order and continued operations by way of illegal electrical connections. The new park contains a CETP (Common Effluent Treatment Plant), but it’s not functioning correctly since it lacks a Chrome Separation Plant. Existing operations and CETP functionality aren’t monitored and there aren’t any preparations or guidelines for solid waste management. Currently, solid waste is being dumped into the field which contaminates the soil. Many small and medium scale cottage industries use tannery waste and byproducts, but there are no guidelines for these businesses. No plans or arrangements are made for treating salt either, so wastewater being released into the river contains a high saline count.
Its Delta is the largest in the world.
Furthermore, the plant cannot handle all the effluents after the whole relocation of the tanneries and they are all operating at capacity. Additionally, they do not have sufficient capacity to handle all tanning operations following Eid Ul Azha, the annual Muslim holiday commemorating Abraham’s sacrifice of his son, during which many cattle and other animals are slaughtered. The CEPT in Savar, if it properly functions, can treat around 2500 cubic meters of waste, but the tannery industries produce quite more than that during this massive festival. Finally, not all the tanneries undergo the CETP and also the untreated effluent is dumped directly within the Dhaleshwari River.
How the government is trying to control pollution
The government in Bangladesh fails to implement policies if they’re even made
As the government in Bangladesh (and within the U.S. and in many parts of the world) fails to implement policies–if they are even made–we will agree that finding a way to urge companies to comply on their own is very unlikely. Those who meet these standards can market themselves as being responsible water stewards and people that don’t will be boycotted by consumers or otherwise pressured to accommodate this standard and stop polluting our waterways. In 2016, the Governor convened a board with two seats vacant, one to represent the environment and one to represent municipalities, to lift the extent of acceptable toxic pollutants within the state’s water by 3 times. It might seem a world standard would prevent governments from changing acceptable levels to support the operations of corporations without requiring industries to enhance waste management.
People get nauseated from the terrible odour released from all the chemicals. There is a powerful ammonia smell, among other scents.
Problems arising because of the tannery
The tanneries were relocated to Savar to shield the dead Buriganga River, which is black and has no living fish. As long as many toxins are being directly released into the Dhaleshwari, it could soon meet the identical fate because of the Buriganga. In addition, the Dhaleshwari joins with the Buriganga downstream, so the pollutants released into the Dhaleshwari will eventually reach and merge with the Buriganga.
It directly dumps waste into the Dhaleshwari river
Dhaleshwari divides into two branches and merges back again before meeting the Shitalakshya River and eventually merging into the Meghna River, which then terminates into the Ganges and Brahmaputra and thus becomes the largest delta in the world. This delta is additionally where the Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest is found. Toxins dumped within the Dhaleshwari don’t just stay there in the river. Rather, they create their banks to other rivers and also the delta. The rivers in Bangladesh would be in even worse shape and water quality wise if it weren’t for the monsoons that flood the waterways and wash a number of their pollution away each year. However, these toxins are being carried somewhere and instead of observing the monsoons as a cleaner of polluted water, it would make more sense to not allow the water to be seriously polluted in the first place.
Another huge problem with the Savar Tannery Park is that adequate drainage has not been implemented and pipes burst all the time, spilling black noxious water within the roadways that folks drive and walk along and which dogs wander near and potentially drink from. Chromium could be a carcinogen, so having these water flood areas people sleep in and work near could be a huge threat to their health. Additionally, no guidelines or plans are made for the housing, healthcare, and education of the tannery workers as required. Workers lack protective clothing and do plenty of work barefoot, per one report by a NY based company, Transparentem, examining human rights in this industry. The report also found children worked within the industry, although Bangladesh prohibits anyone under 18 from working in tanneries. Transparentem failed to publish its findings to safeguard investigators, and therefore the claims about child labourers are denied by the businesses involved.