India authorities’ continued efforts to manage and reduce the amount of harmful effluent produced by tanneries across the country remains a significant challenge. The latest controversy centres around facilities in Jajmau, Unnao and Banthar in New Delhi province, which have yet to tackle major infractions.

The National Green Tribunal has criticised the tanneries located in and around Kanpur, saying they had yet to follow through on plans to build common effluent treatment plants (CETP) to tackle the problem. NGT acting chairperson Justice Jawad Rahim confirmed that unless the tanneries complied with an order to tackle the waste, sanctions would follow.

"As far as the CETP is concerned at Jajmau, Unnao and Banthar, the CETPs are not established. it is stated the tannery industries have failed to contribute 25 per cent of the contribution…. 

"We caution the industries that they will be dealt appropriately if they fail to contribute 25% of their contribution to the CETP establishment exclusive of cost of the establishment of that CETP. However, we direct all concerned to ensure that CETP at Jajmau, Unnao and Banthar are established and the process is expedited and the report in this regard be filed by the industries on the next date of hearing," the bench said.

The NGT has ordered that the leather companies contribute finances not exceeding 25% of the total cost in relation to the construction and upgrade of a sewage treatment plant, CETP as well as providing common infrastructure for all to use.

The issue increasingly pressing, the NGT says. Indeed, Advocate M C Mehta, who has filed plea for cleaning of Ganga, said that more than 60,000t of chromium waste had been flushed into areas surrounding Kanpur and polluting the environment.

"Be that as it may, we shall have to consider this issue at subsequent stage and proper directions will be passed," the bench said. “We are adjourning this case granting one more month time to all the stakeholders to ensure that the directions are complied and report be filed by the next date of hearing.”

The ruling continued that, "till the demarcation of floodplains and identification of permissible and non-permissible activities by the state government of this judgement, we direct that 100 metres from the edge of the river would be treated as no development/construction zone between Haridwar to Unnao in UP."