CNN , Helen Regan, 28/09/2020- When Hajji Mohamed Abdu Salam looks across the trash filled river near his home in one of Dhaka’s major garment manufacturing districts, he remembers a time before the factories moved in.
“When I was young there were no garment factories here. We used to grow crops and loved to catch different kinds of fish. The atmosphere was very nice,” he said from Savar , just north of the Bangladesh capital.
The river beside him is now black like stain. AbduSalam said waste from nearby garment factories and dye houses has polluted the water.
” There are no fish now, ” he said. “The water is polluted that our children and grandchildren cannot have the same experiences.”
Bangladesh is the world’s second biggest garment manufacturing hub after China, exporting $34 billion worth of garments in 2019. Clothes made , dyed and finished in the country often end up in main street shops across the United states and Europe.
But as consumers browse through their season’s latest color trends , few will spare much thought to the dye used to create everything from soft pastels to fluorescent hues–or their toxic history.
Fashion is responsible for up to one-fifth of industrial water pollution, thanks in part to weak regulation and enforcement in producer countries like Bangladesh, where wastewater is commonly dumped directly into rivers and streams. The discharge is often a cocktail of carcinogenic chemicals, dyes, salts and heavy metals that not only hurt the environment but pollute essential drinking water resources.