IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Kuldip Singh, J.
1. This petition - public interest - under Article 32 of the Constitution of India was initially directed against the tanneries located in the city of Kanpur. This Court by the order dated September 22, 1987 MANU/SC/0396/1987(Kanpur tanneries) issued various directions in relation to the Kanpur tanneries. While monitoring the said directions, the scope of the petition was enlarged and the industries located in various cities on the bank of river Ganga were called upon to stop discharging untreated effluent into the river. In this judgment we are concerned with the tanneries located at Tangra, Tiljola, Topsia and Pagla Danga the four adjoining areas in the eastern fringe of the city of Calcutta (the Calcutta tanneries). These areas accommodate about 550 tanneries. According to the examination report dated September 30,1995 by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), ninty percent of the Calcutta tanneries use chrome based tanning process, while the remaining utilise vegetable tanning process. The present status of the four tannery clusters in Calcutta, according to the NEERI report, is as under:
It was observed by the inspection team that no appropriate was-tewater drainage and collection systems are available in any of the tannery clusters. The untreated wastewater flows through open drains causing serious environmental, health and hygiene problems. Also, no wastewater treatment facilities exist in any of the four tannery clusters.
2. The observations by the NEERI team, regarding the Calcutta tanneries in the report are as under:
-Tannery units are located in highly congested habitations, offering little or no scope for future expansion, modernization or installation of ETP(s)
- Tannery units are located in thickly populated residential areas
- Surroundings of the tanneries are
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