Rana Plaza located in Savar, Bangladesh's Capitol collapsed in a tragic fire on April 24, 2013, due to poor design and construction. The tragic event left over 1000 factory workers mostly women dead.
Recent pictures of the site reminds the viewers of the damage and loss of lives caused by an easily preventable disaster. Pictures also reveal several other structures that are at risk of the same disaster.
Buildings surrounding Rana Plaza are enterprises which continue to run their day-to-day operations without implementing any structural changes.
Their definition of enterprises are homes which have been converted to factories. The factories add several floors to the homes, in an effort to create more room for factory workers and equipment.
Poor construction and not following building ordinance requirements have created these factories that have been recently named, "Death Traps."
Employees, mostly women go to work knowing their lives are at risk but if these women don't go to work their family will starve.
Corporations like Walmart, Gap and other successful enterprises are outsourcing work to Bangladesh's factory owners in an effort to keep their operation costs down. This is a brilliant idea on many levels but more importantly because it provides work for the community of Bangladesh as well as keep consumer product cost down.
Factory workers earn approximately $3000 - $6000 Bangladeshi Taka, per month which means an employee, depending on skill levels can earn an equivalent ti $38.53 - $77.06 U.S. dollars per month.
Corporations contracting factory owners are in control and dropping the ball. Corporations doing business in Bangladesh, and any other country for that matter, need to make sure the factory owners are doing their part in keeping buildings safe.
Factory workers' lives are at risk because the production headquarters are located in homes that have been transformed into factories that do not comply with conversion specification.
A factory production floor consist of 100 workers strategically placed in the building working three 8-hour-shifts. Consider production at 3 pants per minute, 20 pants per hour, per employee.
Assume there are 100 workers per 8 hour shifts producing 20 pants per hour which totals to an estimated 6000 pair of jeans per hour.
The homes converted into factories are not equipped to withstand this type of production.
The structure of a home and the structure of a factory are completely different. Remodeling these homes instead of restructuring them creates structural death traps.
Corruption is a huge issue in Bangladesh and representatives of companies like Walmart, the Gap, etc. need to make sure they have employees in place that will not succumb to corruption.
The power remains in the consumers of these companies as well as the enterprises' work ethics.
Environmental Consultant, Tufail Zubedi shared recent pictures of the what remains of Rana Plaza. The signs in front of the factory express the frustration and disappointment in all parties involved.
In an effort to remind the world of impending preventable disasters in Bangladesh Zubedi took photos of what was left of Rana Plaza. The signs posted within the rubble were created by factory employees who share their disappointment and concern.
"I was passing by this Savar area where locals explain that this is Rana Plaza, Bangladesh which came to spotlight due to its structural failure and killing over a thousand textile workers.
"The structural failure occurred because the building was not properly designed! It was a seven to nine story building with an electricity generator on the roof with its absorbent pads." Zubedi said.
The consultant shares the root of the problem stemming from the deviation from the original plans. The original plans which were approved by a local municipal corporation, were created for a 4-story-building.
Zubedi notes that the articles published with regard to the tragic fire did not include several important facts.
The fire was considered the world's largest preventable structural failure in the world.
Locals told the media that after a short excursion in student politics the owner of Rana Plaza, Mohammad, Sohel Rana, dropped out of school to set up a number of businesses. It is alleged that he involved the support of politicians to establish the businesses which he quickly turned into factories.
Rana who received little to no sympathy from Bangladeshis as well as the Awami League sits in jail.
It is alleged Rana started earning his profits by extorting money in the name of rent from workers living in the factory's vicinity.
The garment industry is a lucrative business in Bangladesh due to the poor conditions the workers must endure in order to receive very little pay.
"Rana controlled an underworld gang in the area, and used it to run drugs and extortion business,'' said the vice-president of Dhaka District Awami League, Ashrafuddin Khan, to the BBC.
Supply and demand are the focal points of many successful organizations and the demand for the garment supply fuels the garment industry in Bangladesh.
The demand is great but the production of the products needs to be addressed. Consumers are funding these death traps and need to demand change, for the sake of the unheard voices, for the sake of the lost lives, for the sake of humanity.