The Ecologist film unit gives us an in depth look at the tannery district in Bangladesh, where water is supposed to bring life, not create skin lesions and inflict internal and emotional pain. In Dhaka Bangladesh, this is most certainly the case.
The Buriganga river in Hazaribagh is home to 95% of Bangladesh’s leather tanneries where over 20 000 cubic litres of chemicals are dumped straight into the river with no treatment. There are no fish, there is no life in this river. The majority of the labourers work in the factories wading through chemically filled waters and pulling hides out of machines without any safety protection such as gloves, goggles or boots, where reports of horrific workplace accidents are abundant. You don’t have to work in the tanneries to develop health problems. People who live on the river have skin lesions and rashes, breathing problems are also very common from inhaling the toxic chemicals. The company owners discredit the toxicity of these chemials and say that they are safe BECAUSE they come from Europe. They say that because the “literature” on the labels states that the chemicals are “Eco-Friendly” that they simply believe it, and that no further action needs to be taken. The fact is, we don’t know how these chemicals react when they are so carelessly mixed and “disposed” of. Take a look for yourself to see the process your leather boots went through before they got to you: