Earthkeeping at Ivanete Palla

The following story comes from Carlos Roberto Giacomozzi, one of our code of conduct assessors in Brazil.  Here, he reports on the environmental efforts being made by workers at Ivanete Palla, one of our contract factories:

Ivanete Palla is a small-sized shoe factory located in a very small town settled in the South region of Brazil. The name of the town is Sao Jorge (Saint Jorge) and it has a population of only 2774 inhabitants (1451 living in the urban area and 1323 living in the rural area) and the economy of the town is mostly based on the agriculture sector.

Currently, the factory employs around 80 workers in its 2 units but there was a time in the past when it employed over 120 workers, which means that the factory has a significant impact in the lives of the people and in the economy of the town.

In order to get to that town and visit this factory, I have to take a flight to the city of Porto Alegre (the state’s Capital) and then rent a car and drive for about 3.5 hours. The drive includes approximately 17 miles of dirt road with amazing scenery of beautiful small farms and green vegetation and pastures.

Although the town is very small and located in the rural area of the country, it is not shielded from the pollution caused by the lack of self-consciousness of the population. Brazil is a country that was blessed with lots of water that flows out from water springs from everywhere, forming creeks, rivers, etc. And what should be a good thing very often turns out to be a huge problem for the population, given that many places in the country suffer with flooding after heavy rains which hit many people’s homes.

However, the heavy rains are not the only cause of the flooding. One of the things that contributes to these natural disasters is the heavy load of all kind of materials illegally wasted into the water streams by human actions. Such materials include plastic bottles, plastic bags, tires, clothing, etc.; that contributes to the swollen streams during heavy rains by obstructing the natural course of water, resulting in the flooding of the cities.

In order to prevent the flooding caused by the human activities in their city/region, the workers at Ivanete Palla are doing voluntary work cleaning up the banks and surrounding areas of a creek located in the back of the factory, which is called “Sanguinha creek.” The workers collect the trash materials disposed of into the creek by human actions and then send those materials to be recycled or properly disposed of by the local municipality. The voluntary work done at that stream by the workers at Ivanete Palla is very important and it will certainly have a significant impact in the prevention of flooding in that city and in the surrounding region as well.

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