Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Bangladesh factory collapses

This is upsetting and seems unnecessary.
More than 600 bodies have been recovered from the garment-factory building that collapsed well over a week ago, police said today as the grim recovery work continued in one of the worst industrial accidents ever.
The building was structurally designed as a mall, but was used for industrial purposes with 3 extra stories added.
An architect whose firm designed the building said Sunday that it had not been designed to handle heavy industrial equipment, let alone the three floors that were later illegally added. The equipment used by the five garment factories that occupied Rana Plaza included huge generators that were turned on shortly before the building crumbled. Masood Reza, an architect with Vastukalpa Consultants, said the building was designed in 2004 as a shopping mall and not for any industrial purpose.

"We designed the building to have three stories for shops and another two for offices. I don't know how the additional floors were added and how factories were allowed on the top floors," Reza said.
I suspect a Western designed building may perhaps convert from retail to industrial relatively well, though adding 3 stories would require significant modifications as be mandated by consent approval.

2 comments:

  1. Upsetting and unnecessary - it's appalling!

    And so is this: a UK retail clothing consultant claimed, ...the blame lies with western consumers who demand cheaper and cheaper goods.

    Is this a fair and reasonable statement? I would suspect that those in the garment industry would have had a far better idea of what goes on in countries like Bangladesh and the manufacturing industry than the average consumer has had, up until now. Unless consumers are willing to pay more he didn't foresee much chance of change any time soon.

    What disturbed me most about the interview I watched of this merchandiser is that he made no comment on or even reference to his own industries responsibilities towards the working conditions of these people (admittedly the interview may well have been edited).

    But, just as there is a fair trade movement for commodities such as cocoa and coffee, why are clothing designers and retailers not demanding certain standards and then marketing their products in such a way as to clearly show that they are not contributing to the appalling working conditions.

    I believe those who contract to the owners of companies, such as those in Bangladesh, are first in line as far as responsibility is concerned and then the consumer (who is now far more informed) to not only demand a change but also to support it when it begins to occur.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I agree with much of what you say.

    What I find helpful is 1 Corinthians 8 and Romans 14. It says that we are responsible for that which we directly interact with, but not for further down the line (or at least, less so).

    We can't sacrifice meat to idols, but we can eat meat so sacrificed. The problem with dealing with everything down the line is we can't possibly know everything. The whole world is in sin and everything we interact with is contaminated by it. So we are honest in our dealings, don't involve ourselves in injustice. But if we are hyper-vigilant it paralyses us. And even success (at hyper-vigilance) is not success as some immoral action will be connected we something we bought that we do not know about.

    Nevertheless, you are correct about the blame being primarily (and perhaps only) with the factory owner.

    ReplyDelete

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