Relocation of tanneries is necessary to avoid serious health risks
Around 195 tanneries at Hazaribagh in the capital discharge untreated toxic waste directly into the Buriganga, and the smoke of tannery waste in poultry and fish feed poses serious health risk for consumers and citizens.
Around 195 tanneries at Hazaribagh in the capital discharge untreated toxic waste directly into the Buriganga. The park, however, will be able to house 155 tanneries
In 2003, the government took preparations for the leather park project, which would cost Tk 545 crore. A 200-acre land has already been developed for the leather park at Hemayetpur in Savar.
While testing the water of the Buriganga a decade ago during the dry season, the Department of Environment rather shockingly found zero-level dissolved oxygen, which meant no aquatic life form could survive there.
European Union countries import a considerable amount of leather and leather goods from Bangladesh every year. Bangladeshi leather goods will not have access to developed countries, including those in the European Union, if the government fails to set up the treatment plant by 2014.
Haji Belal Uddin, president of the Bangladesh Finished Leathers Products Exporters Association, had told that they were all willing to move to Savar. “But we could not move as there was no treatment plant. As soon as the government sets up the plant we all will move there,” he said.
Around 100 small traders in and around Hazaribagh who use raw tannery waste as ingredients and supply those to some 20 feed factories across the country.
The practice of using tannery waste for fish and poultry feed started around 10 years ago, as the price of imported protein for feed has gone up over the years.
Studies suggest that tannery waste contains a huge amount of chromium, which, if used in poultry or fish feed, enters the food chain. People eating such fish, chicken or eggs may be subjected to cancer or liver and kidney-related diseases.