Gap does it again – Factories caught dumping toxic waste – Lesotho

Maseru_596605h Shows the reality of wealth on poor nations. Gap got a lot of bad press last year for its Indian operations and child labour but today they were caught with dodgy factories manufacturing goods in Lesotho how much information does Gap know about its manufacturing or should I say how much does it want to know about its manufacturing? Also Levi Strauss has been caught in the same toxic scandal thats poisoning the local river aswell as the unregulated dumping.

A factory that makes jeans for Gap and Levi Strauss is illegally dumping chemical waste in a river and two unsecured tips where it poses a hazard to children.

The scandal was uncovered by a Sunday Times investigation into pollution caused by a plant in Lesotho, southern Africa, which supplies denim to the two companies. Dark blue effluent from the factory of Nien Hsing, a Taiwanese firm, was pouring into a river from which people draw water for cooking and bathing.

The firm was also dumping needles, razors and harmful chemicals such as caustic soda at municipal dumps that have attracted child rag-pickers as young as five in search of cloth fragments to sell for fuel.

Many of the children, who work for up to 10 hours a day, complain of breathing difficulties, weeping eyes and rashes.

Yesterday Gap and Levi Strauss said they had ordered immediate investigations. Gap, which has a public image of environmental awareness, put the factory “on notice” to improve. Levi Strauss said it was “disturbed” to see that water was being polluted.

Gap has said it will conduct a thorough environmental assessment in Lesotho in partnership with an independent environmental organisation and work with factory management to improve training and knowledge around waste handling and disposal. It will also convene a meeting of suppliers in Lesotho to update policies, procedures and expectations.

"While we’re very proud of the progress we’ve made to date, we also understand that conditions are not perfect and that there is still a great deal more to be done to improve both environmental and factory working conditions in developing regions like Lesotho," said Glenn Murphy, chairman and chief executive of Gap Inc.

0 comments for “Gap does it again – Factories caught dumping toxic waste – Lesotho

  1. tom
    August 2, 2009 at 10:56 pm

    Hey they said they are looking into it. First sign of trouble all the local people and clothes are now blue. Hmmmmmm. 😎   Well westerners want stuff cheap so they moved the factories away from home to make stuff cheap. Some of these places have no place things like that can be safely dumped at all.

    I also noticed the Levis in the store are a funky color now. I quit buying them when they moved offshore. Why pay $40 or more for jeans when I can buy them made in the same factory for $10.

    You did notice who owns this factory the Taiwanese are well known for their environmental awareness. 😀 😀

  2. TropicalPenpals
    August 3, 2009 at 5:31 am

    I never put my view on this… But here it is! simply “Ethics” is a myth none of these companies care less as long as they dont get caught then its all 😮 “I didnt know”, “we will investigate”, “We have sent a team”. My question would be “if your an ethical brand why have you been caught up in yet another unethical operation?”. I see it in the UK Government like the expenses scandal only aware “its wrong” when they got caught then decided to put some of the money back not the thousands they stole over the period of time they have been in power. Now the funny twist with Gap was the fact they blamed “the consumer”. OK maybe im a bit nieve here..  Gap isnt that cheap a brand they dont sell £3.00 Jeans the way Tesco and Matalan sometimes do. They sell mid ranged goods which cost virtually the same as the £3.00 jeans. So how does this become our fault Gap is sold on its Ethics and doing its bit for Africa cho cho ek ek.. its all a white elephant.

  3. TropicalPenpals
    August 3, 2009 at 5:35 am

    Taiwanese companies like most in Asia are not putting environment first. But the UK for example is which is why the whole country is in turmoil. Not only dealing with a recession but you want me to change my car? Eco my house, recycle everything and invest what is left of my money in ECO energies that I wont even be a shareholder of? Welcome to the UK :-$ Seriously though.. What is the point of the UK going ECO and ENVIRO friendly when the rest of the world is ignoring it or infact going into Industrial revolutions?

    Now here is another twist regarding Child labour. There is an extra £1.00 paid when you buy a rug with a certain badge. The badge itself is supposed to help stop child labour in India where the rugs are made by paying for inspectors. The inspectors can be bribed and there are too few of them. So can I have my £1 back?