Blue Jeans and Acidic Rivers
“The textile industry is one of the largest consumers of water in the world, using 3.2% of all water available to the human race every year.”
“A goddess” is how the Ganges river in India can be described by its many worshippers. Is this body of water still considered pure and beautiful, however, when she’s completely filled with toxic chemicals? Once able to flow effortlessly with pristine grace, it is now polluted beyond comprehension—there’s still love for this sacred river, yet no respect. This is true not only here, but in other parts of the world as the film RiverBlue points out. The 1.2 billion dollar fashion industry is part to blame, as it’s the second largest polluter after oil.
RiverBlue is a captivating documentary that reveals the lethal ingredients served in a poisonous cocktail created by the global fashion industry. Mark Angelo, a river conservationist and producer, travels to China, India, and Bangladesh seeking answers and solutions towards this form of environmental destruction. During his visits to these countries, he exposes a dirty secretive business.
To get a taste of what was discovered is quite shocking. Wastewater was examined and found to contain acidic dyes, chrome sulfate, and even metals like cadmium (just to name a few contaminants) that cause serious health problems like cancer. Some areas are considered “cancer villages” because of how much pollution enters the immune system of those who live in them. Uninhabitable places where children and adults have lost sensory abilities. In leather tanneries, 18 year olds would walk through “pools of chromium” attending their work duties in sandals completely vulnerable to these chemicals. And as you can imagine, this toxin would then be dumped into a nearby river. Big corporations would rather ignore these facts, but thankfully, there are activists who fight for justice. Additionally, ocean life is directly affected as well. For example, the sex of a fish can be altered because of hazardous chemicals known as brominated flame retardants. The scariest part of this concoction is that it’s a man made chemical, a man made industry, and a man made mess.