“Kano has the highest number of tanneries and considerable number of textile industries in the country and these are the major polluters of the environment. The effluents discharged from these industries do not meet the standard set by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency, (FEPA)”
AS an ancient and traditional capital of Northern Nigeria, Kano City is phenomenal in trade and commerce. It is also a blend of old and new. However, it is blighted by the seeming loss of many opportunities.
The sprawling city, which is home to large migrants from within and outside Nigeria, has suffered from avoidable environmental degradation, especially from uncontrolled discharge of effluents from tanneries.
For many years, thick, coloured and stinking water is continuously channeled into open drains, which in turn seep into bodies of water and contaminate underground water and air. These have become sources of concern for the health of citizens and the environment.
Kano has the highest number of tanneries and considerable number of textile industries in the country and these are the major polluters of the environment. The effluents discharged from these industries do not meet the standard set by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency, (FEPA).
Residents of the city have been suffering from the effects of increased pollution from industrial activities, which discharge into the Challawa River from Challawa Industrial Area; the Salanta River from Sharada Industrial Area as well as Jakara Dam from Bompai Industrial Area. But the problem has its roots in inadequate planning dating back to four decades.
Tanneries and textile industries in most Nigerian cities do not have the capacity and technology to manage their wastes in an environmentally responsible manner. The indiscriminate discharges of untreated industrial wastes into rivers have caused great damage to river beds, adjoining farm lands and contamination of underground water and reservoirs. The continuous discharge of effluents does not only affect the quality of water, but also affect air and soil; hence the major environmental and ecological pollution now witnessed in Kano City.
The public has raised concerns for environmental pollution around Bompai Industrial Area as early as 1978. Records indicate that the Kano State government commissioned a study on the problem the same year. The White Paper recommended treatment of the industrial wastes through natural drainage channels with a discharge into the Jakara Dam. Then, the system of wastes management was seemingly adequate as an effective method of waste treatment and disposal. As new industries sprout in Challawa and Sharada Industrial Areas, effluents generated were discharged into Challawa River and Salanta River respectively.
In the three industrial areas in Kano, the environment is under increasing pressure from solid and liquid wastes emanating from the tannery industries. The metals in tannery effluents such as chromium, aluminium and zirconium are all classified as having a high and chronic toxic effect on organic life.
They are inevitable by-products of the leather manufacturing process and cause significant pollution unless properly treated prior to discharge. Moreover, the tannery industry can cause high influx of chromium into the biosphere, which contributes 40 per cent of the total industrial use.
Culled from The Nation