The city of Kanpur located on the banks of River Ganges is home to a large number of industrial tanneries. Noraiakheda, a nearby settlement of some 30,000 people, has developed over a groundwater plume of tannery chemicals, including dyes and hexavalent chromium (Cr VI) used in the preservation of leather. A basic chrome sulfate manufacturing plant for tanneries has left a legacy of chromium, lead, and pesticide (DDT and Lindane) pollution. Large amounts of the chemical waste produced here were buried on the grounds of the old plant. This contaminated material has polluted groundwater further spreading to wells and drinking water. A 1997 study conducted by the Central Pollution Control Board on the groundwater quality in Kanpur revealed chromium concentrations to range from 124 to 258 times higher than the permissible Indian limit for areas polluted by tanneries.
Another study confirmed this leakage of chromium, along with many other polluters associated with the tannery industry, by sampling along the river Ganga.
Local and international NGOs in Kanpur have initiated a program to increase public awareness about the pollution problem in Kanpur and advocate for its cleanup. The NGO was successful in installing two systems in the Noraiakheda area for improved drinking water supplies.