Monday, August 3, 2009

Denim? DAMN 'em!

Two of the world's biggest clothing retailers are feeling the heat, with their manufacturing operations discovered causing serious environmental damage in Lesotho, Africa.
Gap and Levi Strauss are supplied by a factory that's been polluting waterways, dumping hazardous waste and potentially dangerous chemicals.
At the unguarded landfill, swarms of people sift through the rubbish for something of value to sell. Bags of caustic soda lie among the tonnes of denim off-cuts and hundreds of Gap and Levi's garment labels, zips and studs.
Many of those people claim to be suffering respiratory problems after inhaling smoke from the burning rubbish. Some also say they have skin sores from touching some of the chemicals (view the YouTube news clip here).
Whatever happened to corporate responsibility? Both Gap and Levi's have promised urgent investigations into practices at the factory...but is that enough? Will they pay for the environmental restoration...medical bills...future-proofing...?
Lesotho environmentalists say: "These companies claim they are helping Africa. But this is polluting our land, our air and our water. How is this helping Africa?"
How indeed! Maybe a Western boycott of Gap and Levi's products would 'encourage' more help...

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