Tannery waste in animal feed

A potential threat to public health

In a bid to save the River Buriganga from severe pollution, tanneries were relocated to Savar from Hazaribagh amidst huge public outcry and growing protests from the green campaigners. The consequences of such relocation has had been ironic as the waste generated in Savar Tannery Estate has been contaminating the Dhaleshwari and polluting Savar and adjacent areas since its inception. What is more alarming that tannery waste collected from the relocated Savar Tannery Estate is being used for producing poultry and fish-feed. Also the production of poultry and fish feed from tannery waste contaminated with toxic chemicals such as chromium and cadmium is causing serious air pollution in Savar’s  Bhakurta and adjacent areas. Hence, immediate steps should be taken to stop use of poisonous tannery waste in poultry feed and in this regard relevant authorities must pull down all feed firms that use toxic tannery wastes as the raw material for poultry feed.

Necessary steps should be taken to compel

 the poultry traders to refrain from using tannery waste 

in animal feed that may end up in public health crisis

Reportedly, leather waste is carried in trucks every night from Savar and Dhaka’s Hazaribagh tanneries and boiled into cakes in huge tanks in a corner of a field. The labourers usually light the fires after evening, and work up to 12 at night. The next morning, they spread the boiled leather in the sunlight, and a full day’s sunlight is enough to dry it. Finally, the dried substances are packed into bags of 30 kilograms each, and sent to ‘different unidentified poultry feed-producing factories’ in trucks. Experts are of the opinion that such concoctions are sure to have long-term detrimental impacts on the human body as they are produced from waste leather that requires to be dumped due to contamination with heavy chemicals, including chromium and cadmium.

Consumption of tannery waste through eating fish and poultry might lead to liver and kidney diseases. People eating such fish, chicken or eggs may be subjected to cancer or liver and kidney-related diseases. If chromium and lead remain in the chicken and fish feed, it can be transferred to people consuming these items. Poultry chicken and fish are the best resource of protein for the masses and is consumed by people of every class.  But because of using tannery waste in poultry feed harmful chemicals are making way into the masses through such food and bringing about public health crisis. Hence, necessary steps should be taken to compel the poultry traders to refrain from using such harmful substances in animal feed that ends up in public health crisis. In order to safeguard public health, the use of toxic tannery wastes in poultry and fish feeds must be banned. Also the government needs to act expeditiously to ensure that the tannery waste is effectively managed at the Savar Tannery Estate and not used as animal feed.