Kolkata – Wearing head-to-toe yellow biohazard suits while standing in the Ganga and holding signs that read, "Stop Ganges Pollution – Go Leather Free!" two members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India will protest the toxic leather industry in Kolkata on Tuesday to mark World Water Week, from 1 to 6 September.
The deadly effluents from leather tanneries have helped make the Ganga one of the most polluted rivers in the world and are responsible for fouling water resources across India and around the world.
When: Tuesday, 3 September, 12 noon sharp. Where: On the Banks of Ganga, Babu Ghat, Kolkata
"Not only does leather cause the death of the animals tormented and killed for it, it also pollutes our water and land", says PETA India campaign adviser Bhuvaneshwari Gupta. "We can all make the world a kinder and safer place simply by choosing leather-free shoes, clothing and accessories."
The Financial Times reported about the Ganga in March: "In the industrial city of Kanpur, a third of the way down the river, the number of tanneries producing leather for world markets has more than doubled to 400 since a common effluent treatment plant to tackle pollution of the Ganga was commissioned in 1994. The tanneries – whose waste includes dyes, salt, acids and the carcinogenic heavy metal chromium – often fail to carry out primary treatment of their waste and in any case produce too much for the central plant to handle. Black, malodorous water can be seen flowing straight into the water down a large open drain from the tannery district."
Runoff from leather tanneries has also been linked to cancer, respiratory infections and other illnesses in humans.