<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday pulled up the Uttar Pradesh government for their lax attitude towards the health and environment hazards posed by the tannery hub at Jajmau, Kanpur, that grossly pollutes river Ganga. The tannery hub in Kanpur is perhaps the biggest in the country and accounts for nearly 40 per cent of the country’s leather exports. The NGT pulled up the authorities after they informed the bench that it will be difficult to shift the tanneries outside Kanpur, even as the industrial cluster discharges high amounts of carcinogenic chromium into the environment. The NGT’s principal bench is currently hearing a matter on industrial pollution in river Ganga, especially the highly polluted stretch between Haridwar and Kanpur. “Why can the industrial cluster not be shifted out of Kanpur? Should the industrial cluster take precedence over the fundamental right to environment and health?,”said NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar. The counsel for industries informed NGT that there are a total of 400 tanneries in Kanpur of which 211 units use chromium for tanning while 189 use vegetable tanning. Of the 211, 141 units have their own chromium recovery systems while 61 discharge their chromium into the common effluent treatment plant. Upon hearing that high concentration of chromium is discharged in spite of chromium recovery plants, the bench questioned both UP government and the industry counsel, “How is the chromium level high at discharge points. Either you are not operating chromium recovery plants or the units are not sending it to the CETP,” the bench said. The bench was informed that while mixing of sewage with wastewater from tanneries is one issue, the sub-optimal functioning of chromium recovery and treatment was another reason for high concentration of chromium. Chromium is used as a tanning agent to harden animal hides. It is carcinogenic and even as tanneries have their own chromium recovery or recycling systems, it is discharged into Ganga everyday. According to the Central Pollution Control Board, 9 million litres per day of industrial effluent is discharged into Ganga at Kanpur from the tanneries.