RiverBlue: Can Fashion Save the Planet is a hard-hitting documentary that gives an alarming picture of how the textile industry is causing destruction of rivers in Asia. The opening scene of the documentary shows deep magenta waste water spilling into a river in China as the voice of fashion designer and activist Orsola de Castro is heard saying “there is a joke in China that you can tell the ‘it’ color of the season by looking at the color of the rivers.”
Celebrated river conservationist Mark Angelo says that many waterways in China, India and Bangladesh are devoid of life even as local communities rely on these rivers for drinking and bathing. The water in these rivers has become a public health crisis with a high incidence of cancer and gastric and skin issues afflicting those who work in the industry or live nearby.
Not only that, the tanneries that supply hides to fashion labels use toxic chemicals that can disrupt the hormonal and nervous systems to those who handle them. In Kanpur, India alone there are more than 400 tanneries dumping toxic chromium into the water supply which subsequently turns up in cow’s milk and agriculture products.
The directors of the film hope that the documentary can bring about some change by influencing teens and college students, who buy the most fast fashion.
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