Environmental impact of the clothing industry – Our clothes, our jeans and underwear are produced by unsustainable methods. Greenpeace has produced a sensational report on the catastrophic effects of textile manufacturing in the Pearl River.
Untreated Wastewater from the Jeans factories are released in the Xintangzhen sewage
Photos by Lu Guang/Greenpeace
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Xintangzhen, Guangdong, is located along the main tributary of the Pearl River.
Like many other cities in the province it is experiencing a phase of aggressive industrial growth- Xintangzhen specialized in the production of fabrics.
Jeans are the core market. According to the statistics of the local government in 2008 over 260 million jeans in the city, with 60% exported to Russia, USA, Europe and other regions
Many houses or small workshop are often used to the making of jeans, where later the finished good will be packed on trucks.
Everybody takes part in the task: children, women and the elderly. Children help parents to strengthen home-incomes. Every day, each worker at least produces 200 jeans for each of which is paid a few cents.
A Greenpeace team arrived here to check the area. This channel is highly polluted by waste-water from the processing of the fabric factories. The water is toxic and if it comes into contact with skin it can cause irritation and itching and can be dangerous for the locals health.
Jeans residues covering a valve
Many migrant workers come here looking for job opportunities. Every morning workers remove with bare hands the residues of jeans that clog the gutters.
Exhaust water then merge without any treatment in to the Dong river
Gu Rao is a rich town in Guangdong rich which specialized in manufacturing of sexy lingerie
In 2009 Gu Rao has produced more than 200 million bras. The city is a specialized manufacturer of underwear and was appointed by the China Textile Industry Association as the “City of Chinese underwear”
The contrast of sexy lingerie with foul-smelling waters of the river Wuhei is shocking
The area, due to high concentration of industries in the manufacturing sector is seriously polluted.
Rivers are full of garbage. According to residents the smelly water is not always of the same color: it depends on which chemicals flow into that particular day.
Each tonne of textiles pollutes about 200 tons of water. During the process of dyeing and finishing products, about 2,500 of different chemicals are used.
Many hazardous chemicals are used in textile finishing process. These chemicals can not be completely removed and therefore many will flow in the waters of the rivers.
Gu Rao provides jobs for many families in the area. Children go to school during the day and work in the night. These five children attend primary school. One comes from Hunan, one from Guizhou, the other three are from the area. Every day they earn about 20-30 yuan.
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