The environment today is in bad shape. The ecosystem is shaken, biodiversity exhausted,
pollution levels rising, climate change adversely affecting, waste management getting
tougher. It’s alarming how the Fashion industry has a big contribution to it all, it is creating a
disastrous impact on the environment. In fact it is the Second largest polluter in the world
after the oil industry. If that doesn’t scare you enough it is also one of the fastest growing
industries. So more destruction is coming our way.
How is the Fashion industry the second largest polluter in the world?
FASHION AND CLIMATE CHANGE
Fashion industry requires textile and clothing production. The manufacturing of these textiles
and fashion items together releases 1.2 billion tons of greenhouse gases every year and
mind you that is more than the combined missions for all international flights and shipping.
Fashion production makes up 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions, dries up water sources,
and pollutes rivers and streams.
We must know what greenhouse gases do to planet Earth. So basically greenhouse gases
create a layer around the earth which does not let sun energy that radiates from the earth
surface to break free but instead traps the sun’s energy by radiating it back on the earth’s
surface which increases earth’s temperature. This causes climate change.
FASHION & WATER POLLUTION
In most countries, manufacturing of garments produces untreated toxic wastewaters from
textile factories which are dumped directly into rivers.
The untreated toxic waste water contains substances which are harmful such as lead
mercury arsenic among many other harmful substances. These harm aquatic life immensely
and also affect the health of millions of people who live by the rivers. The contamination
reaches the seas eventually and spreads across the globe.
The use of fertilisers for cotton production is heavily polluting waters which lead to water
contamination which is another source of fashion industry’s water pollution. Garment dying
also creates water pollution beyond imagination.
FASHION INDUSTRY WASTE ACCUMULATION
Garments and textiles raw material contain synthetic fibres such as plastic fibres, lead
particles etc which can take up to 200 years to decompose. As a matter of fact synthetic
fibres are used in more than 72% of our clothing and with rising economies our community is
able to buy a lot more clothes than before. There is a much higher demand than before for
new clothes every year. With the high demand there is a high supply rate, which means
more clothes ought to be disposed of every year. As a result we are generating more and
more textile waste every year. On an average a family in the western world throws away 30
KG of clothing each year out of which only 15% is recycled or donated the rest goes directly
into the landfill or is incinerated.
Off the clothes which are disposed mostly all contain synthetic fiber such as polyester which
is non-biodegradable and can take up to 200 years to decompose.
However it’s never too late to start afresh. The first step to a better world would be to make
people aware that fast fashion is harmful. Buying less can really help the environment better
waste management solutions cannot only help in creating less pollution but can help people