Solidaridad Network Asia is collaborating with leather chemicals and coating company Stahl, PUM Netherlands and various Indian partners on a public-private partnership aimed at cleaning up the Ganges River.  

The five-year project will address water use and pollution from the north Indian Kanpur Leather Cluster. The goal is reduce environmental impact and sewage waste by 40%, and to introduce alternative technologies and processes at tanneries.

Solidaridad, Stahl and PUM are collaborating with Uttar Pradesh Leather Industry Association, Small Tanners Association, Central Leather Research Institute and Ganga Pollution Control Unit.

As part of the programme, suitable environmental production methods will be introduced plus best practice for tannery staff. A Stahl Centre for Excellence will be established to show sustainable technologies, and a wider scheme on efficient water use for irrigation and livestock farming will be introduced for downstream communities.

The project is supported by the Sustainable Water Fund programme (FDW), a public-private partnership facility of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Solidaridad is the project coordinator and consortium leader, Stahl is the principle private contributor, and PUM will provide technical assistance and training support.

Environmental concerns have threatened to close leather exporting tanneries in Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh.

Kanpur is India’s 12th populous city with 3 million inhabitants, and produces buffalo leather, mainly for boots, belts and furniture.

India’s National Green Tribunal, an environmental judiciary, ordered tanneries to properly treat liquid waste from production units before releasing it into sewers.