Though there are many Western nations that cherish dogs as companions, going so far as to regularly have them groomed and parts of their fur dyed different colors, that’s not the case with these stray dogs showing up with bright blue fur in Mumbai. Despite their comical appearance, this shade is anything but flattering or healthy for these poor dogs.
The dogs were spotted in the Taloja industrial area of Navi Mumbai, which is home to nearly 1,000 pharmaceutical, food and engineering factories. The photos were taken by the Navi Mumbai Animal Protection Cell, who spotted about five dogs that had blue on them and knew that the culprit was in the Kasadi River they wade into for food and water. Sadly, one of the five dogs has gone blind due to the chemical exposure.
Many companies dump their untreated pollutants into the waterway and have made the river relatively unlivable for every species. The water has been shown to have 13 times the safe limit of biochemical oxygen demand levels, which dictates whether fish can live in the area or if humans can drink the water. Companies get away with a lot in the area, but after the animal protection cell saw what was happening with the dogs they filed a complaint with the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) to take matters into their own hands.
“It was shocking to see how the dog’s white fur had turned completely blue,” said Arati Chauhan, resident of Navi Mumbai, 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.”
According to a sub-regional officer of the MPCB, Jayant Hajare, there is only one company responsible for the blue dye pollution that is causing these dogs to turn blue. After an investigation was conducted, the firm was found to be releasing untreated dye into the river as well as residual dye powder into the air. Though the firm has not been named publicly, the Hindustan Times has been in contact with them after hearing from the MPCB that the board had issued a warning to the company to adhere to pollution norms within 15 days.
“The firm does not have adequate air or water pollution monitoring equipment. This has lead to the emission and discharge of pollutants,” said Hajare. “If they do not make adequate efforts to control pollution, we will shut them down.”
In addition to the demands for the firm to clean up the pollution site, they are also being told to make the area inaccessible to stray dogs, who are in excess in Mumbai.
“The area is already cordoned off to the public and is in close proximity of the private company. However, five to six dogs entered the site looking for food and got the blue colour on them,” Hajare added.
The company responded by saying, “We have installed a temporary gate to prevent strays from entering the river. We will adhere to MPCB’s instructions within a week.”
Activists are wondering if the damage is already done, however, because they weren’t made aware of the situation until the dogs were dyed blue. No one is sure how the pollution has already affected a range of other animals, including birds, reptiles, and fish, but the consequences of untreated dumping are limitless. The problem seen here is just one example of a huge issue the entire country of India, with its lack of care for the environment and animals in most areas.
*Article originally appeared at True Activist.