water africa

Effluent from Maseru’s garment factories – in particular dyes for jeans – flow into the Caledon (Mahokare) River.Major western garment companies including Gap and Levis have set up manufacturing bases in Lesotho’s capital Maseru. They take advantage of very low minimum wages and an impoverished population eager for work. The Chinese management of the factories, workers say, are often abusive – racial insults are regularly reported. The process of manufacturing and dying hundred’s of thousands of garments, especially jeans, has led to an environmental catastrophe. Local water is turned blue from dyes, and off-cuts, dumped and burnt, pollute the air. Chemical waste thrown into the dump poses a hazard to the hundred’s of men, women, and young children that sift through the waste looking for recyclable material. Maseru, Lesotho. July 2009