Stray dogs with bright blue fur are being spotted all around an industrial area in India, due to the high quantities of toxic waste dumped into the local river.
Navi Mumbai’s Taloja industrial area has nearly a thousand pharmaceutical, food and engineering factories, and all of them release their waste into the Kasadi river.
Last year, the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation ran a series of water quality tests and not surprisingly, found that the toxicity is so high the river is unfit to sustain life. The Hindustan Times reported that pollution levels are up to thirteen times the safe limit.
Togesh Pagade, a member of the local fishing community that carried out the study said, “After numerous complaints to MPCB over the years, only the stench at Kasadi has reduced. However, the pollution levels continue to be extremely high and dissolved oxygen is negligible.”
The Navi Mumbai Animal Protection Cell filed a complaint with the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board about the damage this toxic waste is causing to the stray dogs of the area that often plunge into the water to cool off or find food.
“It was shocking to see how the dog’s white fur had turned completely blue,” said Arati Chauhan, who runs the animal protection cell. “We have spotted almost five such dogs here and have asked the pollution control board to act against such industries.”
Veterinarians from the Thane Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals picked up one of the blue dogs, and found the animal had gone blind because of the dye. The group will focus its energy in the coming days to treat the rest of the affected pups.
Dr Sanjay Jadhav, an SPCA member said, “We picked up this dog first as it has gone blind owing to the dye. It will now have to undergo a blood test as this will help us understand how the chemicals in the river have affected it,” he added, “Once the strays are treated, we will release them in the same area from where they were rounded up,”
Another activist, Arati Chauhan, who runs the Navi Mumbai animal protection shelter, told Sky News: “It’s just not dogs. All other animals are being affected by the environment pollution. I witnessed five such dogs. In fact, one of the dogs has gone blind.”
Authorities believe a detergent manufacturer is responsible for the specific blue dye that’s affecting the dogs. The most likely culprit, Ducol Organics Pvt. Ltd., was notified and given an ultimatum to meet the pollution standards in 15 days if they don’t want their operations to be terminated.
The situation gets more complicated when you take into account that the area includes almost 400 small and medium-scale plants that employ 76,000 workers.