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Kanpur's leather industry a bane for the Ganga

May 11, 2012 10:53 AM IST India India

Jajmau: A cocktail of chemicals is being dumped into the river Ganga in Kanpur. What is even worse is that Rs 900 crore of the Ganga Action Plan have simply gone down the drain. In the historic city of Kanpur, a thriving leather industry is central to the crisis facing the Ganga.

Rakesh Jaiswal, an eco-crusader, explains, "This is a failure of the Ganga Action Plan. The water that should reach the treatment plant, reaches the Ganga straight. The government is responsible for this."

No one is willing to take responsibility for the mess. Despite Rs 900 crore spent on cleaning the river under the Ganga Action Plan, the river is virtually dead on this stretch.

It's only when the river enters Bihar, there is some hope, where an entire water sanctuary is dedicated to the Gangetic dolphin.

Sunil Choudhary, a dolphin scientist at the Vikramshila Biodiversity Centre explained why the dolphin is in trouble today, "A mosquito net can scoop anything, anything of small size and since the small size fish is a food of the dolphin, so if there is a depletion in the prey base, that's a major threat to the dolphins."

Dr Choudhary started the Dolphin Mitra Programme, motivating fishermen to protect the species. With his efforts, now if a dolphin gets entangled in their nets, the fishermen release the mammal. According to Dr Choudhary, by saving the dolphins we are saving the Ganga.