University of Southern California
Research Group


The leather industry is an integral part of the world economy and a substantial source of income for developing countries such as India. Unfortunately, the chemical byproducts of the tanning process are highly toxic, and the wastewater produced by tanneries is sent to nearby rivers and waterways. In the case of the Ganga River (and others), the toxic wastewater generated by leather tanneries is extremely hazardous to the environment and harmful to nearby communities. In Kanpur, India, villagers suffer from conditions including cholera and miscarriages, and livestock yield less milk and, many times, die suddenly [1].

The Ganga is a holy site and source of life for hundreds of millions of people.

Tanneries are required by law to run wastewater through sewage treatment plants (STPs) prior to discharge into the river. In many cases, however, the tanneries either do not own or run this equipment, and it is up to regulatory bodies to enforce compliance. However, inspection agencies have a severe lack of resources; the combination of the tanneries' unchecked pollution and the inspection agencies' failure to conduct inspections forced India's national environment monitoring agency to ban the operation of 98 tanneries near Kanpur, India with a further threat of closure for approximately 600 remaining tanneries [2]. It is our goal to provide agencies with randomized inspection plans so tanneries reduce harmful effluents and an important facet of India's economy can operate.

A sewage treatment plant (STP) designed to process toxic waste.

Protecting the NECTAR of the Ganga River through Game-Theoretic Factory Inspections
Published in: International Conference on Practical Applications of Agents and Multi-Agent Systems (PAAMS) 2016 (PDF)

Blog Post
Can Game Theory Help Clean the Ganga? Randomized Inspection is a Case in Point Published by: Open Government Data (OGD) Platform IndiaLink