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How fast fashion destroys the environment

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As consumers buy more and more clothes, the fast fashion industry is booming, using cheap, exploitative labor and processes that are harmful to the environment to mass produce fashion clothes.
Through the production of clothing and clothing, a large amount of greenhouse gases are emitted into the atmosphere, water sources are depleted, and cancer-causing chemicals, dyes, salts and heavy metals are dumped in waterways.
The UNEP reports that the fashion industry generates 20% of global wastewater and 10% of global carbon emissions, which is more than all international flights and shipping. Every step of making clothes brings a huge environmental burden.
CNN explained that processes such as bleaching, softening, or making clothing waterproof or anti-wrinkle require various chemical treatments and treatments on the fabric.
But according to data from the United Nations Environment Programme, textile dyeing is the biggest culprit in the fashion industry and the second largest source of water pollution in the world.
Dyeing clothes to obtain bright colors and finishes, which is common in the fast fashion industry, requires a lot of water and chemicals, and is eventually dumped in nearby rivers and lakes.
The World Bank has identified 72 toxic chemicals that will eventually enter waterways due to textile dyeing. Wastewater treatment is rarely regulated or monitored, which means that fashion brands and factory owners are irresponsible. Water pollution has damaged the local environment in clothing-producing countries such as Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is the world’s second largest clothing exporter, with clothing sold to thousands of stores in the United States and Europe. But the country’s waterways have been polluted by garment factories, textile factories and dyeing factories for many years.
A recent CNN article revealed the impact of water pollution on local residents living near Bangladesh’s largest garment production area. Residents said that the current waters are “dark black” and “no fish”.
“The children will get sick here,” a man told CNN, explaining that his two children and grandson were unable to live with him “because of the water.”
Water containing chemicals can kill plants and animals in or near waterways and destroy the biodiversity of the ecosystems in these areas. Dyeing chemicals also have a significant impact on human health and are associated with cancer, gastrointestinal problems and skin irritation. When sewage is used to irrigate crops and contaminate vegetables and fruits, harmful chemicals enter the food system.
“People don’t have gloves or sandals, they’re barefoot, they don’t have masks, and they use dangerous chemicals or dyes in crowded areas. They are like sweat factories,” Ridwanul Haque, chief executive of Agroho, a Dhaka-based NGO, told CNN.
Under pressure from consumers and advocacy groups such as Agroho, governments and brands have sought to clean up waterways and regulate dye water treatment. In recent years, China has introduced environmental protection policies to combat textile dye pollution. While water quality in some areas has improved significantly, water pollution is still a prominent problem across the country.
About 60% of clothing contains polyester, which is a synthetic fabric made from fossil fuels. According to Greenpeace reports, the carbon dioxide emissions of polyester in clothing are nearly three times higher than that of cotton.
When washed repeatedly, synthetic garments shed microfibers (microplastics), which eventually pollute waterways and never biodegrade. A 2017 report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimated that 35% of all microplastics in the ocean come from synthetic fibers such as polyester. Microfiber is easily ingested by marine organisms, enters the human food system and the human body, and may carry harmful bacteria.
In particular, fast fashion has exacerbated waste by constantly releasing new trends in low-quality clothes that are prone to tearing and tearing. Just a few years after manufacturing, consumers discard the clothes they end up in incinerators or landfills. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a garbage truck loaded with clothes is burned or sent to a landfill every second.
Nearly 85% of textiles end up in landfills, and it can take up to 200 years for the material to decompose. This is not only a huge waste of resources used in these products, but also releases more pollution as clothing is burned or greenhouse gases are emitted from landfills.
The movement towards biodegradable fashion is promoting environmentally friendly dyes and alternative fabrics that can be decomposed without hundreds of years.
In 2019, the United Nations launched the Sustainable Fashion Alliance to coordinate international efforts to curb the environmental impact of the fashion industry.
“There are many great ways to get new clothes without buying new clothes,” Carry Somers, the founder and global operations director of Fashion Revolution, told WBUR. “We can hire. We can rent. We can interchange. Or we can invest in clothes made by artisans, which require time and skill to produce.”
The overall transformation of the fast fashion industry can help end sweatshops and exploitative work practices, heal the health and environment of clothing production communities, and help alleviate the global fight against climate change.
Read more about the environmental impact of the fashion industry and some ways to reduce it:
Sign this petition and require the United States to pass a law that prohibits all clothing designers, manufacturers, and stores from burning surplus, unsold goods!
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Post time: Jun-22-2021