India (Eco Friends) - HECA Seed Funds for Country Implementation
The non-governmental organization "Eco-Friends" is concentrating efforts on the issue of mobilizing communities to address the effects on children's health of toxic chemicals in the Jajmau and Noraiakheda area of Kanpur in India.
Eco Friends reports that the communities in the project area face an acute problem of surface and groundwater pollution with toxic chemicals as a result of the industries (primarily leather tanning industry) operating in the area with few, if any, environmental controls.
The problem of toxic substances being released into the environment is compounded by lack of access to safe water, poor sanitation and hygiene in project communities. Eco Friends reports resulting health problems identified include: rashes, boils, papules, vesicles, eczema, ring worm, white spots, blisters, decay of nails, advanced stages of leprosy, numbness of limbs.
Project activities being undertaken by Eco-Friends include:
- Survey and rapid assessment.
- Water quality tests.
- Meetings, protests and rallies.
- Awareness-raising and advocacy activities: village-to-village awareness-raising campaigns; workshops and public hearings, letter-writing campaigns to authorities at different levels; education programmes; media campaigns.
Among the achievements to date have been the following:
- Establishment of a Multi-stakeholder Action Group.
- Judicial intervention.
- Chrome recovery plans set up in 88 chrome tanning leather units of Kanpur and establishment of common chrome recovery plan for 110 small units in progress.
- Two deep tube wells sunk to bring safe drinking water to 14 villages.
- Occasional health check up camps established.
- Ground water remediation project in progress in Noraiakheda.
- Scientific landfill site for safe disposal of tannery sludge in progress.