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Overview of Leather Tannery Industry in Northern India

Question:

Discuss About The Leather Tannery Industry In Northern India?

The leather is a one of the most valuable and broadly traded across the nations worldwide. The Indiantion of leather/skins is 12.93%. This production is majorly for footwear and furniture use (G. Thyagarajan, 2010). The leather industry in the country has been the major export earning exchange though it has undergone numerous crisis through the imposition of bans due to the environmental pollution which comes along as the consequential manufacture of leather.

The Ganga river is the largest river in India and the most populated river along its banks (Kumar, 2010). The river has its source from a wide coverage of the Himalayan mountains and has a stretch in length of 2510 km in the eastwards direction and crosses over the Bay of Bengal plains. The river stream flows through some towns in the India like Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Bihar in the southeast plains of India (Sankar, 2012).

The leather is a raw product for the manufacture of footwear and other valuable costumes and goods. This industry has the potential drive from the fashion market, moreover, it has led to the expansion of the fashion industry globally.


The production process of leather is financial and labour intensive hence it has been a great source of employment for the large Indian population living around Ganga River in the Northern India (Sinha, 2016). The leather industry is basically located along the Ganges River due to the need for water which is a critical necessity in the leather production industry for purposes of it being the main compound for solvents and cleaning of leather after tanning process. The involvement of the Indian government through interventions and asserting legislation and stipulation of policies have greatly influenced the leather industry through exportations of the products.

There is a large number of people employed in the leather industry due to its labor-intensive nature with a very high number of the employed workforce of about 2.5 million people. This creation of employment opportunities has significantly raised the life of the locals liv9ing along the river (Sinha, 2012). The production of leather has led to international commercial business trading across the globe and this has led the government to provide their finance and material support to ensure the foreign exchange is completely in the flow.

Although leather production has shown a significant margin in the boosting of the Indian economy, it’s a huge threat to the environment due to its pollution rates which are less controlled. Some social impacts of the industry are that they are influencing the demographic patterns of the country’s population. Due to the demand of water supply for the leather industries, they are geographically located along River Ganges and a consequent increase in population along the river banks and rise in rapid urbanization (Holick, 2008). The increase in population has therefore led to poor living standards due to congestion with respect to the availability of social resources.

Impact on Economy and Society

The industry has been affected by various factors such a band; both international and domestic bans. The major serious band that hit the industry in the recent times was the ban that was imposed on the exportation of leather by the German government. The German (Sanghi, 2013). This product which is a major constituent of leather during its production had been used as a pesticide and research proves that it’s a carcinogenic compound.


Water being the most abundant natural resource for human survival should be the sole resource embraced by the human; it contains the very vital and essential compounds that are usedNorthern India. The river has a large number of dependents of millions in numbers, however, it’s the main source of water for sustainability of life, health, spiritual rituals and the sobriety of life for the people of Northern India.

Numerous impacts are coupled with the establishment of the many leather industries along the Ganges River the Northern India. The tanning process (is the process of making leather which does not decompose from skin and hides of animals) is one in which there is a huge production of solid waste and waste water (Varadarajan, n.d.). This process involves the production of different types of waste materials inclusively all dimensions of the surrounding. Tanning is a process that contributes to more than half the quantity of pollutants that are discharged from the production industry.

The mineral tanning process of leather is such critical and has life threatening outcomes. The prickling method of leather tanning in the industry is done by use of minerals that are naturally occurring. Mineral chromium (chromium sulphate) is one of the sole compound used for the tanning process of leather by introducing the approximate volume to the leather until penetration level desired is achieved. The main risk is that the chromium and its compounds are water soluble making the waste discharge to be a major source of chromium into the Ganges River. Although the post tanning process includes minor treatments of the leather, it has very minimal and controlled pollution rates.

Pollution in the river is quite dynamic and the waste is sourced from vast agents. The sources are categorically human wastes, industrial wastes, and sewage disposal (Kaul., et al., 2009). This affects the nature and quality in terms of the microbiological nature and physiochemical composition of the water both for human and industrial use.


Some major agents of pollutants from the domestic sources are salts, human waste disposal which is directly or indirectly discharged into the river system, human carcasses especially for infants, fertilizers and other chemicals like salts, chlorides, pesticides, oil and grease. The main industrial pollutants are by-products and chemicals used in excess from the very many industries located along the river. These compounds are raw and they are discharged before treatment is conducted to avoid the contamination (Rawat, 2011).

Environmental Pollution from Tanneries

Other contributing factors to the pollution of the river are the open defecation in the water, immersion of spiritual idols for the religious practices of the Hindu community. Use of soaps for washing and bathing is another critical factor contributing to pollution.

Various research activities show that chromium; a major environmental pollutant from the leather industry is very dangerous to human life. It can get into the human body system from air, food, water and some other human goods for basic consumptions. Chromium causes acute diseases such as respiratory complications, skin inflammations, lung cancer and nasal complications.

Several measures have been taken to control in the position to manage the industrial pollution from the leather industry in the country. There has been several policies and legislations of the constitution with a sole aim to protect the environment of India. The boards formed in the country, for instance, the State Pollution Control Boards have been mandated by the national board that oversees the matters of environmental pollution is taken into account. The boards have laid out the national environmental standards and laws which must be strictly applied across the industry for the conservation of environment (Luna Bharati, et al., 2016). The companies that shall not adhere to the laws are in the risk of incurring huge penalties that shall be subjected to them. Other terms of punishment in the recent times were subjection imprisonment.


The government has as well implemented regulations on the establishment of treatment plants. This is a sectiondischarged into the river system. Minimal water discharge from the leather tanneries from their points of discharge through a scientific process of reverse osmosis. Creation of organization of research and expertise teams to work on regulating and managing the tannery waste through reusing some of its useful components.

The tanneries are subjected to national control systems of observing the amount of water they consume and discharge during the various processes of tanning. They comply to such by installing water flow meters to their systems. Underground water is under control to avoid the pollution of land for agricultural purposes.

recovered water can be used for other purposes like reuse in the same production system.

The leather industry in the country has a significant role in the economic growth and creation of jobs. It involves stiff competition from other producers like China and faces numerous barriers such as environmental regulations and the quality standards of the leather products. Pollution is the biggest blow that comes from these industries and stringent measure must be put in place to conserve the water in the Ganges River which has about 400 million defendants (Ahluwalia, 2015). Chromium is a life threatening waste from the leather tanning process, hence to minimize its drastic and deteriorating effects on human life and environment the government has to come into control of the whole system of production.

References

Ahluwalia, V., 2015. Environmental Studies. In: New Delhi: The Energy and Resource Institute.

Thyagarajan, A. V. S. A. A., 2010. Indian Leather. In: Technology Assesment and Forecasting in Leather Sector. Calcutta: Central Leather Research Institute.

Holick, J. C., 2008. A Journey Down the Ganges River. In: New Delhi: Island Press.

Kaul., S., Nandy., T. & Gautam, A., 2009. Waste Water Management. In: New Delhi: Discovery Publishing House.

Kumar, S. C., 2010. Indian Leather Industry. In: Growth, Productivity and Export Performance. New Delhi: APH Publishing Corporation.

Luna Bharati, Bharat R. Sharma & Smakhtin, V., 2016. Ganges River Basin. In: Calcutta: Routledge.

Rawat, R. S., 2011. Reconsidering Untouchability. In: New Delhi: Indian University Press.

Sanghi, R., 2013. Our National River Ganga. In: Technology and Engineering. Bangalore: Springer Science and Business Media.

Sankar, U., 2012. Trade and Environment. In: New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

Sinha, A., 2016. Globalizing India. In: Chennai: Cambridge University Press.

Sinha, S., 2012. Leather Industry and Trade. In: Calcutta: Oxford and IBH Publishing Company.

Varadarajan, D. B., n.d. Environmental Implications of Leather. In: New Delhi: Ashish Publishing House, p. 2009.

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