For some time, China no longer produces enough leather to satisfy the world demand. Therefore, Bangladesh has become one of the most important exporters of leather. There is of the cowhide in abundance, and labor is the cheapest in the world. Most importantly, regulations on environmental protection and workers are almost nonexistent. While European tanneries, framed by stringent Community regulations in this area, bear high costs for the treatment of their releases and for the protection of their workers. So many good reasons for the Western brands, to supply leather cheap in such a country. The biggest fashion brands are particularly affected: H & M, C & A, Esprit, Zara …
Leather manufacturers have relocated their production and leather industry produces devastating effects. Child work, massive chemical pollution, skin diseases, tuberculosis, and cancer… Tanneries have become one of the most toxic activities in the world. The European authorities are beginning to worry about the influx of these leathers made in defiance of the health rules and filled with chemicals harmful for our health. In the neighborhood of Dhaka, the Bangladesh capital, the Hazaribagh tanneries, employ up to 15,000 workers. This leather is exported to some 70 countries throughout the world, but principally to China, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Germany, Spain, and the United States. Tanneries, which export hundreds of millions of dollars in leather for luxury goods throughout the world, spew pollutants into surrounding zones. Residents of Hazaribagh slums complain of illnesses such as fevers, skin diseases, respiratory problems, and diarrhea, caused by the extreme tannery pollution of air, water, and soil. Children work in tanneries, some as young as 11. The list of potentially hazardous chemicals for humans and the environment used for tanning of leather is long. There are chrome salts, including the hexavalent chromium (chromium VI) carcinogen by inhalation and allergen through contact, chlorinated organic substances that attack the respiratory tract, ethylene oxide which takes to the genetic heritage, various heavy metals (aluminum, nickel, lead, mercury…), of cyanide-based products … Totally ignorant as for the toxicity of these products, the Bangladeshi workers thus handle them without any protection, often naked feet and hands, without protective mask. Wastewaters, loaded with toxic chemicals, are dumped in the streets without any treatment, pollutant little by little towns and also land agricultural surroundings. Dhaka’s main river contains, among other substances, animal flesh, sulfuric acid, chromium, and lead. The government estimates that about 21,000 cubic meters of untreated effluent is released each day in Hazaribagh. Government officials and tannery industry representatives told that no Hazaribagh tannery has an effluent treatment plant to treat its waste, which can have many thousands of times the legally permitted concentrations of pollutants. Since 2001 the government has ignored a ruling from the High Court Division of the Bangladesh Supreme Court ordering the government to ensure that the Hazaribagh tanneries install adequate waste treatment systems. The government has sought extensions to a 2009 High Court order to relocate the Hazaribagh tanneries out of Dhaka, and then ignored the order when the extension passed. A government plan to relocate the tanneries to a dedicated site outside of Dhaka by 2005 has faced numerous bureaucratic delays. And corruption.
Last small precision, do not look at mention of products used in their manufacture on your shoes, t-shirts or underwear Made in India, China or Bangladesh, person has ever dared to do so! Chantelle prefer to put “Designed in France» on its brassieres, waterlogged with toxic products! It is so much more chic.
It is not very moral to buy a swimsuit or a tee shirt that cost the price of a cappuccino. In other words: let us think two minutes before passing in the cash register. A made label in Bangladesh does not necessarily have to make us run away, but if the price seems to us abnormally low, we know from now on what it means.