How does the fashion industry pollute and destroy the environment?

Clothing is an important need for humans, but the harsh reality is that fashion is polluting and devastating the environment.

The fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world. Especially, fast fashion has dominated and reshaped the fashion industry since the 1990s. This fashion segment is the main cause of the huge greenhouse gas emissions and devastating impacts. environment.

So how does the clothes we buy have bad environmental consequences?

Excess clothes and consequences

Picture 1 of How does the fashion industry pollute and destroy the environment? Photo 1 of How does the fashion industry pollute and destroy the environment?
Behind the glamor of fashion is the negative impact on the environment.(Photo: Ekoenergy).

Fast fashion is a business model that promotes the fast production of cheap clothes to meet the latest fashion trends. This term was first used in the early 1990s to describe Zara's business model. Today this model has dominated the fashion industry. Many retailers such as TopShop, Primark, Forever21 and Mammut have the ability to turn an idea in the minds of designers into luxury products that appear on the street in just a few weeks.

The rapid rise and success of brands that bring a mass audience of cheap yet fashionable clothing has led to a major change in consumer behavior. On average, 60% more people owned clothing in 2014 than in 2000, so the time they wore in 2014 was only half that of the past. Americans bought clothes five times more in 2014 than in 1980.

The cost of this uncontrolled increase in consumption is wastefulness, pollution, and clothing factories with poor working conditions.

For the third element, companies have reached the final limit of reducing production costs in order to provide fast and cheap garments. Firms in developed countries can 'outsource' to cutting costs, by taking advantage of cheap labor in developing countries, where not only labor is much cheaper but labor law Also often quite loose.

In many places, scandals related to working conditions are repeated, such as basic unsafe labor safety measures, low wages, and workplace violence.

Clothing is cheap, but the environment is expensive

Fast fashion also encourages the production of lower quality clothes. Quality and durability have been pushed aside to make room for cheap clothes that will meet the immediate tastes but will quickly become out of fashion next season. The most serious consequence of this situation is that it leads to the huge amount of discarded clothing piled up in landfills. According to statistics, in 2014, landfills in the US received 10.46 million tons of clothes. Only about 15-20 of the leftover items for charity shops are on the shelves of these stores because they are simply too large.

Picture 2 of How does the fashion industry pollute and destroy the environment? Photo 2 of How does the fashion industry pollute and destroy the environment?
Removed clothing is a source of pollution.(Photo: Terra 20).

How does the production of this surplus of clothing (most of which has not been worn in diapers) adversely affect the environment?

Clothing is made up of a variety of materials, often a combination of different fibers - all of which have benefits and disadvantages in terms of comfort, durability and production costs. Particularly cotton (cotton) in 40% of all clothing, while synthetic fibers (such as polyester and nylon) are present in 72% of clothing. Both materials are criticized for their negative environmental impact.

Cotton is a tree that consumes lots of water. Although only 2.4% of the world's agricultural land is cotton, this crop consumes about 10% of all agricultural chemicals and 25% of pesticides. In the 1960s the Soviet Union diversified the two rivers, which flowed into the Aral Sea, to maintain contton plantations in this region, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. When there is no more water from the aforementioned two rivers, almost the entire Aral Sea has been depleted, now almost deserted desert.

Synthetic polymer fibers are fabricated, not grown as. The production of nylon produces nitrous oxide (dinitrogen oxide, amusing gas) - a greenhouse gas that is up to 300 times stronger than carbon dioxide (CO 2 ).

The dangers of micro-plastic in clothes

Both polyester and nylon partially decompose in washing machines into microplastics that discharge into the sewage system into the environment. Scientists have now discovered that microplastics have invaded the human food chain - a problem for which we have not yet fully measured the consequences.

Low-quality cheap clothes decompose more quickly than high-quality clothes, so the faster the process of micro-plastic entering food.

The problem does not stop there

The confusing scale of the fashion industry and the number of yarns that are made to make clothes each year make the industry extremely devastating to the environment.

Garment factories are large energy consuming units and therefore also emit a lot of greenhouse gas emissions. An estimated 80% of the energy used in fashion is for fabric production. Electricity is needed to run machines such as washing machines and air pumps at textile factories. Large amounts of heat are also needed for washing, drying and dyeing fabrics.

A large percentage of garment factories like this operate in China, which relies heavily on coal for energy. The transport of clothing also creates additional CO2 because most of these products are transported by sea using bunker oil - fossil fuel contains 1,800 times more sulfur than car fuel, making cargo Customs is another significant source of pollution.

Yet many garment factories pour untreated chemicals into rivers and cause pollution in one of the world's most polluted rivers.

The dumping of toxic chemicals (mainly used for fabric dyeing) has caused large sections of rivers such as Citarum in Indonesia or Chau Giang in China to be so polluted that fish and other organisms cannot survive. This pollution also affects river-dependent residents on drinking water, washing water, irrigation water as well as aquatic resources. High rates of cancer and other diseases have been found in communities living near polluted rivers, especially near sewage discharges from garment factories.

Too difficult

The pollution problem caused by the fashion industry is so large that it is difficult to know where to start in solving this problem.

Unfortunately, the main big driver for all this trouble is the need for cheap clothes that can be easily thrown away.

So to solve the problem at the root, there has been a 'slow fashion' movement and campaigns such as Fashion4Climate (The Climate) to encourage people to buy high quality and durable clothes are produced. in an environmentally sustainable manner. Green efforts include buying environmentally sustainable fabrics such as linen, hemp, silk, hemp, organic cotton, and sustainable wool or recycled fibers.

Eco-friendly fashion brands will inform customers about the origin and method of manufacturing garments.

Greening the supply chain for fashion / apparel industry is really a big problem that needs to be researched and dealt with soon .