Labor often work hard and how to work under bad conditions. They are struggling with health issues because they use toxic substances and unsafe heavy machinery, and usually do not have adequate protective equipment. Pakistan produces about 4,500 tons of leather every year. Almost half of this leather is sold in Europe, most of which are manufactured products including shoes, clothing and suitcases.
Skin to Leather
Animal skins are transformed into leather by the so-called wet blue method. Large wooden barrels are filled with water and chemical chromium. These drums rotate for two to twenty-four hours. In very humid and extremely hot environments, workers are full of toxic chromium gas, and they usually do not have shoes or protective equipment. This can cause skin infections.
A large part of the leather company’s workers are not employed by the leather company. In our research, we found that 95% of workers are hired through labor contractors. This makes them very vulnerable. They usually do not have a legal contract tied to the factory where they work, and they are forced to work. It is an employment-oriented sector. In addition to earning foreign exchange for the country, it also provides employment for a large part of the society. The leather finishing and finished products industry is an important sector in Pakistan.
The leather industry includes six sub sectors namely, tanning , leather, footwear, leather garments, leather gloves and leather goods. The tanning Industry performs a important function in the development of these sub-sectors by offering the primary material.Today, Pakistan are among the leading countries in the manufacturing of Leather clothes and gloves. Ten years ago, it was the fifth most vital export industry in the production sector , and now it is the second.The entire production of leather and fur is exported in original form. Since then, due to the favorable situation of raw materials and increasing domestic and foreign demand, the local tannery industry first developed semi-finished leather.
In a cross-sectional study, 197 male workers were selected from different departments of ten tanneries in Kanpur as subjects of health risk assessment. For comparison, a control group was also examined. The control group consisted of 117 male subjects who belonged to a similar age group, who had never had any occupational exposure in a leather tannery.Respiratory diseases are the main cause of the higher incidence among exposed workers, while the control group is mainly gastrointestinal problems. Urine and blood samples collected from the exposed group showed significantly higher chromium content.
Leather Export association in Pakistan
Except for SMEDA (Small and Medium Enterprise Development Association), there is no association dedicated to the entire leather industry. The association focuses on the development of more industries, but is connected due to lack of funds.