In November I spent two days shooting in the 5th most polluted place on earth, Hazaribagh, Dhaka. There are no words to adequately describe the smell of the place. Dead animal parts and fat and skin everywhere, being boiled into soap and other things.. I don’t think the smell will ever come out of my shoes.
Hazaribagh was just listed in a report by Green Cross Switzerland and Blacksmith Institute as the 5th most polluted place on earth. It houses 95% of Bangladesh’s leather tanneries, and every day they dump 22,000 cubic liters of toxic waste, including the cancer-causing hexavalent chromium, into the capital city’s main river and key water supply, the Burgiganga. Most of the laborers work with the hazardous chemicals without any safety precautions, and there have been reports of horrific workplace accidents in the factories. Residents of the neighborhood slums are exposed to the extreme air, water and soil pollution. The tanneries export millions of dollars of leather good around the world, including the US and Europe.