Kanpur is the ninth most populous city in India and the largest within the state of Uttar Pradesh. Often referred crassly as ‘the armpit of Uttar Pradesh’ due to wide-spread pollution, it is one of the oldest industrial townships of North India, and still managed to secure 10th rank in the cleanest cities of India with 55.34 points.
Up to the first half of the 18th century, Kanpur was an insignificant village, but later became one of the most important military stations of British India. It became an important center for leather and textile industries when the Government Harness and Saddler Factory was started in 1860 to supply the army with leather products. Since then, Kanpur has been infamous foreing home to largest tanneries in India and over a dozen Defence Ordnance Factories.
Due to the industries, the pollution levels have risen dangerously high. Due to lack of proper planning, the city equals Delhi as a victim of congestion and overcrowding. Urban planning has yet to evolve. New industries such as detergent, saddlery, food processing, pan masala (tobacco), tea packaging, plastics and packaging, jewelry manufacturing and exports, leather processing and goods, have also developed in the city. The inclusion of Kanpur amongst top 10 cleanest cities surprised many.