Detox: Dirty Laundry background - September 2011 update

Uploaded by GreenpeaceVideo on 20.09.2011

China has some of the worst water pollution in the world.
70% of the country’s rivers, lakes and reservoirs are now classified as polluted
and half of China's water is deemed unsafe for human contact.
A major source of this pollution is the thousands of factories that crowd China’s riverbanks
producing clothes and textiles, electronics, and countless other consumer products.
Toxic chemicals used by these industries are now turning up in China’s food and drinking water
According to studies they are increasingly found in both wildlife and in humans. sparking significant health concerns.
I have spent more than 5 years investigating China’s water pollution problem
and found China’s seven major river basins are seriously polluted.
In many river basins this pollution has infiltrated into the groundwater and is seriously affecting local people.
Over the past 12 months Greenpeace has been investigating one source of this pollution.
China's growing textile industry
Our investigation focused on two textile factories
The Youngor garment factory based on the Yangtze River Delta,
and The Well dyeing company based on a tributary of the Pearl.
Samples were taken from both factories discharge pipes and local river sediments
The team also returned at night for sampling
as it is well know that factories often wait till nightfall to discharge toxic substances.
In order to avoid inspectors.
We also spoke to local people about what it’s like to live and work near these factories.
This place had big, fresh fish and crabs.
Before, people loved fishing here,
Before, people loved fishing here,
but now they can’t. There is too much pollution.
Ever since Youngor was established,
and the sludge started pouring out, life in this river all died off.”
Investigators sent the river samples to laboratories in the Netherlands and to Exeter University in the UK for analysis.
Where scientists discovered several toxic chemicals.
Some of these are already banned accross Europe because they affect the immune system and sexual development.
Dr. KEVIN BRIGDEN: We found a wide range of hazardous chemicals in the samples,
Amongst these were alkyphenols and PFCs.
These chemicals have a range of toxic properties.
Both these groups of chemicals are persistent, they don’t break down in the environment
and in Europe alkyphenols are no longer used in manufacturing processes.
Greenpeace also investigated the paper trail of contracts to find out exactly
which companies are doing business with these polluting Chinese suppliers.
The trail led to a long list of famous multinational brands, including the sports giants Nike and Adidas
the Swedish fast-fashion retailer H&M
and the Chinese sports brand Li-ning
Many of these brands heavily promote their environmental credentials.
However the reality is they simply don't know what chemicals are used by their long chain of suppliers.
We also tested their products, and we found in clothing items of fourteen international brands such as H & M and Lacoste
a chemical that breaks down into the hormone disrupting Nonylphenol
Until they take responsability for this problem, brands can't guarantee that their products don't contain toxic chemicals.
and that they are not complicit in polluting China's rivers and other waterways around the world.
Big brands have a responsibility to clean up their supply chain
to disclose information about where their factories are located and what chemicals they are discharging in to our rivers
because people have the right to know.
But there is a solution:
if brands work together with their suppliers, they can re-design their production processes
and eliminate the use of dangerous toxic chemicals.
The time to act is now.
Detox our fashion
Detox our water
Detox our future