Apparel retailers and brands got a stark reminder that sourcing textiles in China can be a tricky business after an appalling lack of concern for the environment caused the country’s third largest lake to covered by a thick layer of green algae.
Taihu Lake which is in the eastern province of Jiangsu was struck by a huge algal bloom after untreated run-off was dumped into the lake by the surrounding industry including textile mills and dyehouses. In the Chang Zhou area all factories were requested to stop activity for 2-3 days a week, which could impact on the delivery of clothing to retailers.
But this delay is of little concern to residents in the province where the foul-smelling slime in the lake left tap water undrinkable for more than 2.3 million Wuxi residents and prompted a run on bottled water for days. The situation, which reached a critical level in early June was exacerbated by a drought and severe water shortage in the area, which meant that Lake Taihu was at its lowest level for 50 years.