Monday, October 21, 2013

Tannery Pollution's Effect on Plant Life

The leather tanning industry is a major source of pollution such as tannery waste-water. These waste by products pose severe environmental risks on our water and environment due to its chemical content. For example in a study completed by Mwinyihija et al. In 2005 and 2006 it was shown that Chromium-- an inorganic transition metal used in the tanning process, and exists, “in several oxidation states...with trivalent and hexavalent species of chromium being the most common forms”, have profoundly negative effects on the cellular compounds of organisms.

Plants that are grown in chromium concentrated substrates showed significant stored levels of the metal inside the plant's cells-- mostly in the root systems. The amounts of, “chromium accumulated in plant tissues resulted in significant inhibition of chorophyll, protein contents and in vitro nitrate reductase activity in test plants” (Mwinyihija 29). In layman's terms, Chromium compounds that are frequently used in the production of leather are deadly to plants and ultimately leads to reduced growth in the roots and photosynthesis components that stunt and kill the plant.

The effluent waste-water flows out of these tannery establishments and into the surrounding environments to negatively impact the ecosystems. In the video below it explores the environmental effects that a tannery in Bangladesh is having on the community, waterways, and environment.

Mwinyihija, Mwinyikione. "Chapter 2: Main Pollutants and Environmental Impacts of the Tanning Industry." Ecotoxicological Diagnosis in the Tanning Industry. New York: Springer, 2010. 17-31. Print.

1 comment:

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