A leading leather industrialist from the city Irshad Mirza has set up a proposal to dispose of tonnes of leather waste, generated everyday from the tanneries, in a useful manner. The Mirza International managing director has submitted a plan to construct roads from the notorious leather sludge, which has been blamed for polluting the Ganga and rendering the agricultural land barren.
The Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IITK) has undertaken a study to examine the possibility of utilising the sludge for construction of roads as a substitute for mortar. According to Mirza, the leather tannery waste was treated for chromium removal but the allegations of its harmful ecological effects had forced the leather industrialists to devise new methods of disposal.
“We have conducted thorough research in our private laboratories before proposing the idea for implementation and authentication to the appropriate authorities,” he said. Till now, the waste is being disposed of by digging vast underground pits wherein the waste is buried after being packed into plastic bags. Some ecologists have cried hoarse over the ill-effects of this mode of disposal, alleging acidification of adjacent agricultural land and consequent loss to farmers.
Mirza says that the proposed usage of waste in highway construction would be safe as the highways are generally above the adjacent landmass and the chances of chromium intoxication are negligible. IIT-K has also studied the proposal to its satisfaction and submitted it to the apex body of highway construction research in the country, the Indian Road Congress (IRC) for further authentication.
The development, once adopted, would provide a tremendous boost to the ailing tannery industry of the city, where over 100 tanneries have shut shops during past few years owing to stringent pollution control norms and their inability to comply with them satisfactorily. The binding capacity of the proposed plan has already been successfully tested after construction of a 500 metre road in Banthar near Kanpur, which has withstood the wear and tear for last one year without getting damaged.