Wildlife & Biodiversity

Troop of ‘Blue Langurs’ spotted in Gujarat’s chemical paradise Ankleshwar

Ankleshwar’s chemical units have wrought havoc on its air and water and have caused adverse impacts on the health of human and non-human residents alike  

By Manish Rana
Published: Tuesday 26 October 2021
A blue langur spotted October 23 in Ankleshwar's industrial zone. Photo: Manish Rana

A troop of langurs with their pelage coloured blue due to exposure to chemical-based dyes was spotted in an industrial neighbourhood of Ankleshwar in Gujarat recently. It has highlighted the adverse impact of the industries operating in the town.

The troop was spotted in the Ankleshwar cluster of the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) at 4 pm on the afternoon of October 23, 2021 by locals according to reports in Gujarati newspapers.

A troop of Hanuman langurs with their pelage coloured blue due to exposure to chemical dyes caught on video in Ankleshwar, Gujarat. Credit: Manish Rana

The stretch between Ahmedabad and the industrial city of Vapi in Gujarat is known as the ‘Golden Quadrilateral’. It is among the largest industrial clusters in Asia.

The town of Ankleshwar is located 14 kilometres from Bharuch. It is well-known for its industrial units manufacturing dyes and intermediates.

A reactive intermediate in chemistry is a highly reactive, high energy and short-lived molecule that will quickly turn into a stable molecule when it is generated in a chemical reaction. In certain cases, they are separated and stored.

The industrial activity in and around Ankleshwar has led to much of its environment, including its air and water sources, being polluted.

Norms set by the Gujarat Pollution Control Board, Central Pollution Control Board as well as the Directorate of Industrial Safety and Health are usually not followed.

Many of the chemicals used in the industrial units are carcinogenic and have been reported to cause skin ailments as well as cancers among workers.

Locals have often spotted chemical-coloured stray dogs and birds in the town and its vicinity.

Salim Patel, president of Prakruti Suraksha Mandal, a local non-profit, said his organisation had lodged a complaint with the forest department about the troop.

“These blue langurs are found in residential areas too. We don’t how they are allowed within the industrial area. We have asked the forest department to catch them and do a thorough medical examination of them,” he said.

Patel said he also had requested the forest department to either shift the langurs from the GIDC area or to shift the cluster from its current location altogether.

This reporter called up Dinesh V Damor, forest officer for Ankleshwar Range. He said he was in Gandhinagar but added that he had received a report on the matter and would look into it soon.

The Common, Gray or Hanuman Langur (Semnopithecus entellus) is found across south Asia. Its 16 subspecies’ range extends from the Himalayas in the north to peninsular India in the south.

It is found both in forests and near human habitations. Langur troops number between eight and 20 animals.

With inputs from Rajat Ghai

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