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Court orders utility supplies cut to polluting tanneries

The Bangladeshi Department of the Environment recently cut off utility supplies to at least 30 tanneries in Dhaka's highly polluted Hazaribagh area, where some 95 per cent of the country’s leather-producing operations were located. This was reportedly due to the tanners’ failure to relocate to a new and environmentally friendly leather processing cluster on the outskirts of the city. Up to the time when the utilities were switched off, comparatively few tanneries had complied with the order.

In 2001, Bangladesh's High Court ordered these tanneries to relocate to Savar, but this instruction was not enforced. Then in June 2009, the court once again ordered the relocation to be completed by February 2010, but without any significant success. In June last year, the same court ordered the tanneries to pay 50,000 taka ($620) each to the national exchequer every day until they moved, in compensation for polluting the environment. However, the tanneries appealed against the order and the amount was cut to 10,000 taka ($124).

Finally, the country’s Supreme Court ordered the move to be completed by April 6th 2017, with the tanneries remaining closed until this was done. The High Court Division then directed government authorities to turn off gas, electricity and water supplies in order to enforce the action.

Photograph shows a leather delivery in Hazaribagh.

Publishing Data

This article was originally published on page 4 of the May 2017 issue of SATRA Bulletin.

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