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Historical Analysis Of Leather In India - Research Paper Example

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This paper is the finest example of the historical analysis that dwells upon the background of leather in India. The leather tanning industry in India is the third largest in the world. Over half of this industry is situated in and around the Ganges river basin in North India…
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Historical Analysis Of Leather In India
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Download file to see previous pages Sankar, an eminent expert on leather technology at the Oxford University, says that the industry releases harmful effluents and chemicals that pollute rivers and other water bodies (86). Moreover, much of this waste is released in a solid form that cannot be absorbed or disposed off effectively and is therefore contributing to the pollution of the environment. The Indian leather industry is composed of both established manufacturers as well as thousands of cottage industries engaged in the production of various types of leather. In 2010, the industry processed over 65 million animal hides and over 160 million skins to produce leather of various types and quality (Kaul 108). In fact, the latter constitute over three-fifths of the total industrial output. While leather production has existed in India for thousands of years, the modern practice of leather production were introduced by the British rules in the mid-nineteenth century. Over 60% of the industry’s output constitutes hides and skins. Other leather products manufactured by these industries include leather garments, suitcases, belts and shoes (Kaul 95).
Sawhney, a noted professor on Leather Technology at the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University in Hyderabad, India states that there are more than 2300 tanneries in the country with a combined turnover of $7.5 billion and are primarily concentrated in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and West Bengal (109). The industry exports most of its produce mainly to the western countries, Japan and Australia. The following figure shows the growth of the leather industry in India over the last 50 years. The information in this graphic is of importance as it highlights the gradual growth of the industry, its relative contribution to the national GDP and the extent to which the sector has come to dominate leather production in the global market. Fig. 1. Growth of the leather industry in India 1951-2007. Source: Sawhney, The new face of environmental management in India, 2008. While India remains a top exporter of leather, it has fallen behind Pakistan and Argentina in annual output due to several factors. India has the highest population of cattle and enjoys lower labor costs that are essential for leather production. Such conditions would make one believe that India holds a distinct advantage when it comes to manufacturing leather (Sahasranaman 46). However, despite having the basic raw material required for the manufacture of leather, the Indian leather industry suffers from adequate technology and financial incentives required to operate the industries in a clean and pollution-free manner. Further, Indian leather manufacturers are driven by the incentive to keep costs at the very minimum and look upon treating effluents or utilizing cleaner techniques as additional expenditure (Sahasranamam 50). The presence of favorable conditions combined with the present inability of Indian leather manufacturers in coping with global demand has forced them to adopt cheaper and quicker means of production to enhance output volumes. Such pressures have however come at the expense of the environment. In fact, Jenkins says that tanneries depend on as many as 700 different chemicals to treat and process animal hides, most of which are water insoluble and capable of rendering land and water toxic and unfit for human use (65). For instance, most leather companies situated near the banks of the Ganges River have simply preferred to dump their wastes directly into the river. These effluents contain large ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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