how namibian charcoal workers pay a high price for the cheap british barbecue - black plastic sheeting
This weekend, the UK has entered the peak season of barbecue, and the taste of hamburgers, spareribs, halomi and salmon will fill the British gardens, parks and balconies.
But a leading forest charity has warned that many families will forget the fact that most of the charcoal used to ignite the grill was produced in the tragic conditions of Namibia.
In recent years, the popularity of barbecues has soared as interest in smoked foods such as meat and ribs has grown.
Britain is now the European barbecue capital, with about 0. 12 billion outdoor cooking activities each year.
But the NGO Fern, who represents the forest and the people who live and work in it, wants the British to carefully consider the charcoal of almost half of the barbecue fuel.
It surveyed the charcoal industry in Namibia, the main source of British barbecue fuel, and found it regrettable that large areas of southern African countries lacked working conditions and environmental considerations.
On a visit to the charcoal heart of the country, Fern found a landscape filled with the thorny twisted "intruder" bushes used to make charcoal.
In the Outjo area, about 250 km kilometers north of the capital Windhoek, rusty steel barrels are everywhere to burn bushes to make charcoal.
The edge of the road is a temporary residence of black plastic cloth and wood debris, home of a charcoal burner.
The Fern investigation found evidence of a large number of illegal tree cutting, with workers usually paying only modest wages and not being able to use toilets or tap water.
It is reported that many workers wear little or no protective clothing and play with fire: human suffering, environmental damage and summer barbecues.
The work is being punished: The trees are cut down, sawed into small pieces and placed in a temporary kiln for a few days.
"It's tough, but we have no choice.
There is no other option, "a staff member told the researchers who wrote the Fern report.
Of the 60,000 tons of charcoal burned each year, the UK imported more than charcoal, and Namibia is by far the largest source of charcoal.
Supermarkets and major retail chains only sell charcoal certified by the Forest Management Committee (FSC)
-The process of social and environmental inspection is required.
However, much of the UK's BBQ fuel is sold through smaller independent stores, many of which have little FSC --
Certified products, experts say.
The wholesale price of charcoal produced in the UK is about 1,400 per ton, while Namibia is only 76 per ton, which makes it cheaper for retailers to buy, even after the cost of transportation.
According to Fern campaign co-, Britain imports more charcoal from Namibia than any other country, and some estimates suggest that it accounts for half of the total amount burned
The coordinator has now kept his promise.
"However, with the widespread presence of illegal tree cutting, consumers have not noticed its production conditions, and she said:" Many workers living in harsh environments, we are more used to seeing on television screens, they saw it from a temporary refugee camp in the disaster area. ". FSC-
Certification solves the problem of exploitation of Namibian workers to some extent, but in the UK, charcoal produced in extremely harsh environments is still widely used.
"No matter what guarantee FSC gives sustainability, it has received a lot of non-
FSC bamboo charcoal joined the EU, including the UK, "MS.
She pointed out that only 8 of Namibia's charcoal producers are FSC-
Certification, which means it's not enough to meet the needs.
"The main supermarket asked for their charcoal to be FSC-certified.
Many other retailers and restaurants do not.
"They should be made aware of the labor and environmental costs of the products they sell," she added . ".
Jim better of Dorset Charcoal, one of the British producers, also
Certified products in the UK market.
"It was not until recently that some retailers started storing FSC charcoal, but that is far from normal," he said . ".
"Any inspection of imported charcoal bags in front of the garage is impossible to find the FSC logo.
The Namibian Forestry Department could not be reached for comment.
However, it is well known that the government of Namibia is concerned about the situation in the charcoal industry.
Last year, Alpheus Muheua, Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Welfare, told the Namibian sun that charcoal workers continued to work hard under terrible conditions to receive wages for hunger and were not recognized as employees.
He said that as part of the process that began in 2003, he was working to reach an agreement to address these issues, when his department began to investigate the issue.
Activists said it was a difficult task to completely rectify the charcoal industry in Namibia.
However, a simple change could make a big difference, Fern says.
Current EU timber regulations (EUTR)
All timber and most timber products sold in Europe are required to be purchased legally and sustainably.
But charcoal is not included.
Mr. Fern said it would be a good start to adjust the law to make importing charcoal from illegal sources from Namibia a criminal offence.
When it comes to barbecue charcoal, consumers can take an ethical step-and only a step: to purchase fuel certified by the Forest Management Board (FSC)
A non-governmental organization responsible for ensuring the sustainable management of woodlands and assessing working conditions and environmental issues.
Inevitably, there are complaints that the regulation of the FSC is not likely to be strict, however, even critics have overwhelmingly agreed that buying charcoal with the FSC logo on the package is much better than a product without the FSC logo, usually cheaper.
Supermarkets and major retailers only sell FSC products, but the strictness of smaller retailers is much lower, so consumers should check the packaging carefully to see if the FSC logo exists.
If not, you should not buy it and you should tell the owner why you are going somewhere else.