The National Green Tribunal has allowed three Kanpur-based tanneries, which were releasing waste in river Ganga, to resume operations after the UP Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) informed it that they were complying with all environmental norms. A bench headed by Justice Jawad Rahim permitted KC Tan Industries, Tajammul Ki Tannery and Sabra Leather Finishers to run their units for a period of one month after which the state pollution control board would conduct an inspection. The three units had applied to UPPCB for permission to operate. However, the board found certain deficiencies in their units and closed them.
The green panel also noted the submissions of these industries that the effluents were released, after primary treatment by them, to the Common Effluent Treatment Plant run by UP Jal Nigam where they were treated for use in irrigation. UPPCB has no objection to allow the industries to function subject to an undertaking that instructions will be complied with, the bench noted They should ensure that there no violation of any of the conditions imposed and not discharge effluents in a manner which is prejudicial and impact environment, it said
“We therefore permit these industries to function subject to pollution control board conducting an inspection at the first instance after a period of one month for satisfying itself that these industries are compliant,” the tribunal said. If any deficiency is noticed, the board shall exercise its power to issue closure orders or any other action to be taken which is permissible under law, the bench said.
Earlier, the Yogi Adityanath-led UP government favoured the shifting of British-era tanneries which were releasing toxic wastes into the river Ganga at Kanpur. The UP government had told the NGT that hunt for a new site for setting up these leather units, which are a “major source of pollution” in Ganga, is under consideration and would be identified soon. Last year, the then Akhilesh Yadav government had opposed the idea of shifting of over 400 tanneries which give employment to over two million people, saying moving the tannery hubs to some other place was almost “next to impossible” due to paucity of land.
In a detailed report covering various aspects of contamination in the river, the CPCB had informed the NGT that the Ganga, spanning a distance of 543 km between Haridwar and Kanpur, was affected by 1,072 seriously polluting industries which were releasing heavy metals and pesticides. At present, 823.1 million litres per day (MLD) of untreated sewage and 212.42 MLD of industrial effluent flow into the river while three of the four monitored Sewage Treatment Plants were non-compliant with the set standards, it said.