The textile industry in Indonesia has been caught dumping waste water with a pH of 14 directly into the Citarum River. If you can’t remember your chemistry lessons from school – most drinking water has a pH between 6.5 and 8.5. Oven cleaners have a pH around 12. 14 will burn your skin.
The owner of the offending facility is in business with a number of global fashion brands, including Gap. I don’t think that’s what Gap means when they talk about basic clothing.
It gets worse – the same facility is also releasing a number of hazardous chemicals, some with hormone-disrupting properties – taking advantage of a system that requires little transparency. Most people who live alongside this river and who depend upon it for their livelihoods do not know what is being released into it. But this is our water, and we have a right to know!
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Companies like Gap have the power to influence their suppliers and work with them to provide greater transparency. Their major competitors have all committed to Detox, what is Gap waiting for?
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Source: greenpeace, Marietta Harjono (Detox Campaigner – Greenpeace International)