Up to 95% of the registered tanneries in Bangladesh are located in and around Hazaribagh, a neighborhood in the country’s capital of Dhaka. Most use outdated processing methods, and the tanneries dump 22,000 cubic liters of toxic waste each day, including the cancer-causing toxin hexavalent chromium, into Dhaka’s main river. Tannery workers in Hazaribagh live on top of contaminated streams and canals, while informal recyclers burn scraps of leather, further polluting the air. As a result, residents face elevated rates of skin and respiratory diseases, as well as acid burns, rashes, dizziness and nausea.
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