Monday, 14 April 2008

CHOOSING WHITE GOLD: THE TRUE COST OF COTTON


Three years ago I went to Uzbekistan. In the markets the fabric trends were synthetic rainbow polyester florals with seaquins, and I was very tempted. No cotton though....

We took a trip to see the remains of the Aral Sea, drained by the over production of cotton. Skeletons of ships lay around in the distance as we sailed down a river, running through a place which was once a sea and is now a desert of salty toxic dust, which blows in the wind, causing alarming high cases of cancer. The average life expectancy in Uzbekistan is 44.

We got quite sick there. Food is fried in cotton oil, which goes putrid in daylight, and their only bottled water, called 'Pure Life' produced by Nestle, is really expensive. 

Most Uzbek cotton, picked by children is sold to Europeans. An average cotton t-shirt should cost £45, if it is produced properly.

Uzbekistan used to be a luscious and powerful country on the silk route, the home of Genghis Kharn, founder of the Mongol Empire.  

Please watch this video, by the Environmental Justice Foundation by following the link below and remember to ask where cotton comes from. 

1 comment:

Felix said...

A really great post...

...this is just awful. I had no idea the Aral sea had been destroyed by irrigation for cotton production.

...I'd love to learn more about where to buy cotton yarn that doesn't involve this kind of terribleness and I will find out how to campaign for labeling on clothes saying where the cotton came from.