India Cracks Down on Polluting Tanneries Ahead of Hindu Festival

11 January 2019

Authorities in the Indian city of Kanpur have ordered the "immediate shutdown" of 91 leather tanneries that were offloading their waste into the Ganga river, causing widespread water pollution, an official said on Tuesday.

The crackdown comes days before the start of the Kumbh Mela festival during which thousands of Hindus descend upon the river to bathe in its ‘holy waters’.

"The idea is to ensure that the Ganga remains non-polluted and that devotees who go to the biggest religious congregation get pure and clear water," the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) official said.

Closure orders for the remaining 28 tanneries in the locality are likely to be issued before the festival begins too, sources said.

A few tanneries have escaped closure as they have treatment plants for their hazardous waste and are thus not polluting the river.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has ordered officials to ensure that waters of the Ganga are pure.

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