World Water Day 2013: 10 facts about water pollution

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Many people will continue to take clean drinking water for granted but Greenpeace is using World Water Day to highlight how the situation is the opposite for people around the world, especially in China.

As part of the environmental NGO’s toxic campaign, it said today should be about remembering “those who are suffering from industrial water pollution”.

Greenpeace said that there are 10 devastating facts about water pollution that everyone should know:

  1. The vast majority of our water is in our oceans, with just 2.5% of the planet’s total supply being fresh water.
  2. In China alone, 320 million people are without access to clean drinking water.
  3. 40% of China’s surface water is considered polluted.
  4. A staggering 20% of the groundwater used as drinking water in China’s urban areas is contaminated, sometimes with carcinogenic hazardous chemicals.
  5. Comprehensive Greenpeace investigations revealed that the majority of clothing items from big fashion brands like GAP, Vero Moda and Calvin Klein that the organisation tested contained hazardous chemicals.
  6. Some of these chemicals break down to form hormone-disrupting and even cancer-causing chemicals when released into waterways around the world.
  7. It is reported that, every year, around 80 billion garments are produced worldwide – the equivalent of just over 11 garments a year for every person on the planet.
  8. It is estimated that each individual – man, woman and even the unborn child – carries hundreds of man-made chemicals in their bodies, including some that could be linked to the textile industry, according to the NGO
  9. Greenpeace is demanding fashion brands Detox their products and supply chains. How? By transparently eliminating all hazardous chemicals from their manufacturing processes by 2020.
  10. Big brands do listen. Brands like Zara, Victoria’s Secret, Benetton and Valentino, have agreed to Detox their products and production processes by 2020.

Tianjie Ma, head of Greenpeace East Asia’s Toxic Campaign, said: “Industry also has a crucial role to play in creating a toxic-free future, and as one of the major contributors toward toxic pollution the textile industry needs to both take responsibility for the issue and work to champion the solutions.”

It was in 2011 when Greenpeace launched its Detox campaign. The project requires clothes manufacturers to commit to zero discharge of all hazardous chemicals by 2020 and requires their suppliers to disclose all releases of toxic chemicals from their facilities to communities at the site of the water pollution.

So far 17 international brands including Zara, Levi’s and Victoria’s Secret have committed to eliminate all hazardous chemicals from their supply chains and products.

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