Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Blue jeans, Black river.

A few weeks ago we highlighted National Geographic's Water Issue and a few particular statistics that took our breath away. One of those was the 2,900 gallons of virtual water needed to produce a single pair of blue jeans. However, I was unaware at the time of that post that there is also an enormous pollution price tag on those jeans.  

The indigo dye used to make our blue jeans blue is also turning China's Pearl River black. A portion of the river adjacent to Xintang's blue jean factories - which produces 200 million pairs of jeans per year including 60 different foreign brands - has indeed turned black. Not to mention the nearby riverbank is piled with denim scraps and garbage.

According to Poisoning the Pearl, a report put out last year by Greenpeace, a fair share of factories may be flagrantly dumping their wastewater into the river. The organization found excessive amounts of heavy metals, organic pollutants and chemicals among the contents of pipes from five different factories, including a textile factory. The following clip that aired just yesterday on CNN sums up the issue in less than three minutes:

Further information and script from the video available here. And a download of Poisoning the Pearl is available here.

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