07/02/2013, 00.00
BANGLADESH
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Hundreds of garment workers poisoned by factory water

by Sumon Corraya
Just today, 200 employees of the Rose Dresses Ltd were hospitalised after drinking contaminated water. In early June, more than 600 people experienced bouts of vomiting, cramps and fainting.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) - More than 200 garment workers at Ashulia, an industrial area near Dhaka, were hospitalised this morning for poisoning. All of them worked for the same company, Rose Dresses Ltd, which has more than 6,000 employees. Apparently, the workers got sick from drinking the factory's tap water an hour after they reported for work. The police temporarily shut down the plant.

Today's case is the third of its kind at this the plant since early June. On 5 June, 600 people suffered bouts of vomiting, cramps and fainting shortly after drinking the water. On June 28, another 250 employees fell ill.

At first, the government thought the workers were victims of mass psychogenic illness. However, doctors who visited them confirmed that it was poisoning.

After China, Bangladesh is the largest garment exporter in the world. As a whole, the industry accounts for over 10 per cent of the country's GDP.

At the same time, garment workers are treated like slaves, with little or no workplace safety, poor hygienic conditions and salaries of just US$ 40 per month for 12 hours of work.

 

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