I only found out about this tragedy this week and really felt that I had to share it with everyone. On April 24th 2013, the world was shocked by the eight-story Rana Plaza factory collapse located in Dhaka's outskirt Savar in Bangladesh. Large structural cracks were discovered in the building causing shops and the bank on the lower floors to close effective immediately. But these warnings to evacuate the building after the cracks appeared were ignored by the garment factory owners on the upper floors. Their garment workers were ordered to return to work the following day. Due to management pressure, on Wednesday 24 April thousands of workers returned to work again despite the forewarnings about the structural cracks in the building. Only hours later the entire building collapsed. Including rescue workers, 1,134 workers were killed. Nearly 2600 workers were injured, many of them affected for the rest of their lives. Many of the survivors had been trapped under tons of rubble and machinery for hours or even days before they could be rescued, which sometimes was only possible by amputating limbs.
This awful tragedy was a turning point for the global garment industry, as it shone a light on the terrible working conditions that apparel workers in third world countries are subjected to. The tragedy also sparked a movement for change, and led to better safety standards and working conditions for these laborers. The public interest and media attention, resulted in more political pressure than ever before to effect change and has led to significant ground-breaking approaches to prevention and remedy, with the establishment of the binding Accord on 'Fire and Building Safety' in Bangladesh and the Rana Plaza Arrangement involving all major stakeholders, set up to compensate the survivors and the families of the killed workers. We must never forget what happened at Rana Plaza, and continue to fight for justice for other workers also in a similar position. Working in inhumane and unsafe conditions for below minimum wage. In some cases, garment workers cannot even afford to feed their families. With fast fashion companies like 'Shein' reportedly paying their workers 3p per garment they individually produce, something should be put in place to ensure this is an illegal practice. It is our responsibility as consumers to demand ethical and sustainable practices from the companies we support with our purchases. The Rana Plaza disaster serves as a constant reminder of the human cost of fast fashion, and the importance of holding corporations accountable for their actions. Let us honor those who lost their lives by creating a better future for garment workers everywhere.
In remembrance of the Rana Plaza victims, April 24th has been designated as Fashion Revolution Day, where people come together to advocate for fair labor practices in the fashion industry. So let us use this day to remember and reflect, but also to take action and push for change. Together, we can create a more ethical and sustainable future for all those involved in the fashion industry.