It was just an accident.
Accident: an unfortunate event resulting especially from carelessness or ignorance
It’s been several weeks since the terrible tragedy occurred in Savar, Bangladesh.
The numbers rose steadily as the days passed. As it stands today, the death toll has climbed to 1,127. The rescue workers have reached the basement, where they are almost certain that no more victims are to be recovered.
Over 1,000 bodies.
The factory workers saw the cracks in the building, reported those cracks, and were sent right back to work, assured that the building was safe. Hours later, the building collapsed. It was not safe. It may have been an accident, but it could have been prevented. As a result of this negligence, nine individuals were arrested on various grounds of violating safety procedures, both for the building and the factory workers. This particular building collapse is one of the greatest Bangladesh has seen in recent years.
The shocking severity of this tragedy has brought into sharper focus the need for Western clothing brands to make great changes to their involvement in the factories that produce their garments. What does this industry look like for the average garment worker in Bangladesh?
Those men and women and hundreds of thousands of others (even children) were earning maybe $38 a month making garments. With unstable work conditions and wages so sparse, it would seem that the money brought into Bangladesh through the factories is given a higher priority than the safety and wellbeing of their employees. The money brought into Bangladesh through these factories provides roughly 80% of the country’s infrastructure. An estimated 4 million people work in the various garment factories in Bangladesh under conditions that Pope Francis would compare to slave labor. It will take billions of dollars and several years for improvements to be made in the garment factories.
But there is hope. H&M and Zara, two popular clothing retailers are working towards signing an accord that will improve the working conditions of the factories where their clothing items are manufactured. After the tragic incident in Bangadesh, many factory workers went on a rampage, actively showing their desire for someone, somewhere to do something about the factory working conditions. It seems now that these companies are taking the appropriate initiative to provide safer work conditions and a more sustainable income.
While it was an accident that could have been prevented, I can be thankful that now, three weeks later, positive changes seem to be on the way for garment workers in Bangladesh. I hope that the individuals responsible for this are given the justice they rightly deserve, and I pray that this tragedy never happens again.