- The government of Lesotho committed to pursue an investigation on the alleged pollution and unguarded waste disposal management in the country's garment industry, while also looking at the impacts of the environmental issues might have had on the surrounding communities.
The commitment follows media reports that some of the main buyers of Lesotho's textile and clothing products were to investigate amd monitor the allegations.
"This process will be a highly technical and costly exercise, and it is envisaged that external technical and financial assistance from organisations and cooperating partners with experience and resources for this sort of work would be required," said a statement released by the government on Lesotho late Friday.
Reports came out that GAP and Levi Strauss, some of the largest sourcing companies on Lesotho products were to look into environmental concerns raised on the continued blue rivers from the factories as well as dumping of waste in unguarded places around Maseru.
The government statement however said as far as the information on waste water was concerned, such was fixed and it was only a temporary and an isolated situation.
"The government can confirm that the mill and denim manufacturing units in Maseru have functioning wastewater treatment plants. The incident reported in the media involving water pollution is an isolated and unfortunate situation. There was an operational problem at one of the treatment plants, and a break in a municipal sewer pipe from which there was a discharge. Both problems have since been corrected and consequently the monitoring system will be instituted to ensure the quality of all water treatment by 11 August," the statement stressed.
The statement further said as a long term measure to develop the solid waste facility, government has identified a landfill site at Toeneng for the development on of the land fill for different types of solid waste. "The feasibility study for this has been completed. It is anticipated that the landfill site will approximately be completed within four years time," explained the statement.
The statement also said government was aggressively addressing the raised concerns as well as other environmental issues, saying there were already laws, regulations as well as other measures in place to address the situation.
Lesotho is one of the major exporters of clothing and textiles, especially jeans, to the US market.
The Lesotho garment industry, which started in the 1980's has grown to become a major employer and economic driver in the country, having created over 50,000 jobs at peak.
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