is your bbq charcoal made with slave labour? paul bracchi reveals the unpalatable story behind your mouth-watering sausages and burgers - black plastic sheeting
Compared to the traditional British barbecue, there are few more popular summer roots here.
Britain is now the Barbecue Capital of Europe.
There are about 0. 12 billion outdoor cooking meetings per year, and the outdoor barbecue market is worth about 2 billion (
Up from £ 0. 15 billion in 1997).
But behind the mouth
The sausage and burger you like on weekends is a rather unpleasant story.
Because most of the charcoal used to grill in gardens across the country is produced in Namibia, where it is called "black gold ".
Activists say a lot of slave labor has been produced on the other side of the world.
In fact, if you buy a bag of charcoal in the UK, there is a good chance that it will be packed into containers in Walvis Bay, the port of Namibia, transported more than 5,000 miles to our largest container port, Felix Stowe.
Namibia is sixth in the world.
The largest exporter of charcoal, Britain is the largest importer of fuel in the South.
West African countries.
Why is charcoal called "black gold" in Namibia "?
Because it has brought huge profits to the local farmers.
One of the reasons is that the local charcoal trade is produced by sweatshops or slave labor.
Fern, a leading environmental charity, now reveals the high prices Namibia charcoal workers pay for cheap British barbecues.
The title of its report is hardly left to imagination.
Playing with Fire: human suffering, destruction of the environment, barbecue in summer.
The fern survey found that Namibian workers were often paid a meager amount, living in huge shantytowns made of black plastic cloth, without toilets or tap water.
Charcoal is produced by slowly heating the wood without oxygen, allowing the wood to be chemically converted into charcoal.
The work involved is punishment: cut trees from dawn to dusk, cut into small pieces to burn, and then remove charcoal from the kiln.
The living conditions of the workers are terrible.
It's tough, but we have no choice.
A Namibian worker said in the study of ferns that there was no other option.
Most people come from the poorest parts of Namibia.
Most of them were employed as contractors, without housing or social security, and were paid 700 Namibian dollars (about £35)
They produce charcoal per ton.
This is usually half the price that farmers sell.
Since most farms are located in remote areas and there are few shops, not to mention medical facilities, workers have to buy their credit terms
Sometimes the price is much higher.
From the farmer's shop, there is very little money left to them at the end of the month.
Most charcoal workers do not have any protective clothing such as safety boots, gloves and masks to protect them from smoke inhalation, sawdust, heatstroke, cuts and snake bites.
Health hazards associated with small-
Large-scale charcoal production has been well documented, including "increased respiratory symptoms and reduced lung function ".
In short: the conditions for charcoal production in Namibia are to stay away from the relaxed, happy barbecues we use to grill.
However, Britain imported more charcoal from Namibia than any other country --
Largely because of its low price compared to our domestic products.
The wholesale price of charcoal produced in the UK is about 1,400 per ton, while the wholesale price in Namibia is only 76 per ton.
"Consumers know nothing about its production conditions, many workers live in harsh environments, and we are more used to seeing on TV screens in the temporary refugee camps in the disaster area," said a colleague from the Fern campaign team.
The coordinator has now kept his promise.
Supermarkets and other major retailers usually only sell charcoal certified by the Forest Management Board (FSC)
This requires environmental and social checks.
But many consumers in the UK buy barbecue fuel from gas stations and small independent shops, where the charcoal stored is generally not FSC certified.
No matter what guarantee the FSC gives, it is a lot of non-
MS Ozinga said FSC charcoal entered the UK.
Retailers should be given an idea of the labor and environmental costs of the products they sell.
The Namibian government is also concerned about the production conditions of charcoal.
But activists say it is a difficult task to rectify the industry.
It is easier, they say, to change the law and make illegal imports --
Purchasing charcoal from Namibia is a criminal offence.
At the same time, charcoal that fuels barbecues can cause pain for slave workers in West Africa.