Indian Leather Industry goes Green

By Team YS|8th Jul 2011
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Kespersky

Keeping in mind the current environmental issues which are plaguing the country, the leather industry, which is known to pollute the various water bodies in India, has decided to go the environment friendly way.Many environment experts believe that the leather industry in India has been responsible for polluting not only many water bodies across the country but also causing irreversible damage to the basic constitution of water in that area.

The holy river Ganga has been the target for the disposal of waste from this industry. Late but not too late, the Indian government has finally awakened to this grave issue and launched a green technology for the correct disposal of the waste from the leather units, which would prevent water contamination.

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, recently unveiled this technology at Kanpur addressing this issue. During the introduction to this technology, Mr Ramesh said that most of the leather processing units in the Ganga river basin need around 3000 tonnes of salt on a daily basis to preserve 5000 tonnes of raw hide, because out of this total waste, 90 per cent salt ultimately finds its way into the river and groundwater, causing pollution and contamination. The technology is known as ‘lyophilisation technology’, which enables salt-free preservation of hides. The conventional process, however, uses large quantities of salt to preserve leather across various stages of processing, which eventually makes tannery effluent treatment difficult and expensive.

The new eco-friendly technique also reduces the amount of water used in the waste preservation and reduces the amount of water usage in the process, thus making it a cost effective technology as well.

This announcement is expected to pave a way for the MSME-dominated leather industry to reduce their wastage cost and adopt this technique on a large scale. Within the next 2 years, leather units will require close to 900 such lyophilisers, with each unit costing between Rs 60 lakh and Rs 2 crore, added the minister.

Sujeet Kotian, founder, Leather Art, a Gujarat-based mid-sized leather goods manufacturer-cum-exporter, said, “The initiative is a much needed relief for us in the leather industry, especially the ones based in the Ganga basin. However, the challenge is to convince one tannery in the area and only then it can lead to mass-scale adoption. For us, it is not relevant as we use semi-processed leather for making various products.”

Vinnie Bhadra

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