PIC 1: The smelter owner took us to an amazing South Indian lunch and honored us with some necklaces (lead-free I might add). He was very excited to have visitors from the US and took good care of us.
This is the infamous abandoned Chromium Plant at Ranipet. Chromium (Cr) is used to fix collagen in hides ultimately producing leather. Practically all leather worldwide is processed this way. India is has the worlds second largest Cr deposits and dozens of American and Italian shoe companies. Trivalent Chromium is insoluble but hexavalent is water soluble and a confirmed human carcinogen. The "neon" yellow is all Cr+6 (YIKES).
PIC 2: A local man walking through runoff containing hexavalent Cr. (no comment necessary)
PIC 3: Everything you see is a hugh Cr waste pile (10 meters tall). Rainwater runoff seeps out of waste pile and migrates through community. This Pool was dug to try to collect leachate but was abandoned. Chromium swim anyone?
PIC 4: This is my second visit to Ranipet and nothing has changed in 6 years. Owners are bankrupt and gone; who will clean this up?? Are you wearing leather shoes?? Uhmm??
Video of Ranipet run-off across the road from people's homes.