Kanpur. Mixing and multiplying problems.

Kanpur is a major hub for the leather tanning industry in India. There’s a lot to say, but first, please follow me and the wastewater trail through the streets of the city.

Ubiquitous blue drums line the streets. Aside from chromium, salt, lime, acid and preservatives are used in the process.

Ubiquitous blue drums line the streets. Aside from chromium, salt, lime, acid and preservatives are used in the tanning process.

Wastewater from the tanneries is mixed with sewage and is pumped towards the treatment works.

Wastewater from the tanneries is mixed with sewage and is pumped towards the treatment works.

Sludge from the tanning process contains the majority of the chromium. The official receiving sites are far out of town. It is often dumped illegally.

Sludge from the tanning process contains the majority of the chromium. The official receiving sites are far out of town, meaning it is often dumped illegally to save on transport costs.

Does that look better to you? Doesn't smell like it. The sewage/tannery effluent mixture has been through the secondary treatment plant. The channel divides sending half to the Ganga....

Does that look better to you? Can assure you it doesn’t smell better. The sewage/tannery effluent mixture has been through the secondary treatment plant. The channel divides sending wastewater directly to the Ganga….

...and the rest is destined for an irrigation channel, supplying nearby farms.

…and the rest is destined for an irrigation channel, supplying nearby farms.

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