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"Tanah Air Kita"

Water has a special place in Indonesia’s culture. The expression for “homeland” in Bahasa Indonesia, the national language, is “Tanah Air Kita” – which translates as “Our Land and Water”, reflecting the fact that Indonesia is made up of more than 17,000 islands. Tisna Sanjaya, an Indonesian artist and social and environmental activist, describes the Citarum River as “the cradle of our nation’s culture”.

Chemical Cocktail

Sadly, industrial facilities are treating public waterways like private sewers in many areas of Indonesia, pumping out a cocktail of hazardous substances into the local waterways.

One of the major sources of pollution is the fashion industry – with 68% of industrial facilities on the Upper Citarum producing textiles. The printing and dyeing processes are particularly chemical intensive, and have contributed to the Citarum developing a reputation as one of the dirtiest rivers on earth.

Poisoning Paradise

Greenpeace collected samples of wastewater discharged from one of the many facilities located on the Citarum – owned by PT Gistex – and found the presence of a number of hazardous chemicals, including nonylphenol, antimony and tributylphosphate.

Worse still, wastewater discharged from one of the two smaller outfalls was highly alkaline
(pH 14), which is highly caustic, will burn human skin coming into direct contact with the stream, and will have a severe impact (most likely fatal) on aquatic life in the immediate vicinity of the discharge area. The results suggests that this wastewater had not received even the most basic of treatment prior to discharge.

Abah Dayat

Beyond the facts and statistics, there are a huge number of people affected by the pollution along the Citarum River.

Meet Abah Dayat and his Grandson Fazril. Abah is a former fisherman who has been forced to collect scrap from the Citarum River ever since the fish numbers declined rapidly. Abah and his family are just one example of how the changing environment is having an impact upon people’s livelihoods and jeopardising people’s futures.

Shady Practices

Indonesian law gives legal guarantees to every individual to gain access to information and justice in order to fulfill their right to a healthy environment.

But access to information is a big problem. PT Gistex’s facility is just one thousands in Indonesia - and around the world - taking advantage of a system that requires little transparency and where inadequate laws are failing to prevent the release of hazardous chemicals.

But this water is OUR water, and we have a right to know what is in it.

Mind the GAP

Behind the scenes, major international brands are conducting business with suppliers such as PT Gistex, helping to sponsor toxic water pollution and murky business practices.

One of these brands is Gap - which has been linked to toxic water scandals before, and whose clothing items tested positive for hazardous chemicals in a previous investigation.

How many more scandals need to break before Gap work with their suppliers in Indonesia and around the world to Detox their production processes and products, and help Detox our water?

Take Action

1. Share this story with the world

Every time you like, share, and promote this story it increases the pressure on Gap to change its ways: to stop polluting rivers in the countries where their products are made, and to stop shipping hazardous chemicals all over the world in their clothes.

Major competitors including H&M, Zara, Levi’s and UNIQLO have all committed to Detox. What is Gap waiting for?

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2. Join a global movement

Around the world, over half a million fashionistas, activists, designers and bloggers have joined together, united by a belief that beautiful fashion needn't cost the earth. Join the movement and send a clear message to major brands and suppliers linked to this environmental destruction that we want clothes with a story we can be proud of.

SIGN THE DETOX FASHION MANIFESTO

3. Help us continue this important work

Your support has already resulted in 17 major fashion brands committing to remove all hazardous chemicals from their supply chains and products. You can also help protect our precious water supplies by making a contribution today so that we can continue this important work in those areas where it is needed most.

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