The clothing industry is often associated with fashion, and fashion is often associated with young women shopping. BUT, one of the actions that everyone, no matter their gender or age, does every single day is getting dressed. Everybody on this planet is connected to the clothing industry and thus could play a part in putting its polluting to a halt.
There are 7 billion people on this planet, and the population is still growing. Considering that every person needs to get dressed every day one could only imagine the amount of clothing that already exists, not to mention the items people no longer wear worldwide. Now lets take a look at what is being produced every year: it’s a staggering 80 billion kilos that is produced worldwide every year. This is 400% the amount that was consumed just two decades ago. But what does it actually mean to produce this much clothing?
30 billion people are currently working in the clothing industry in an unsafe working environment for 60 hours a week Awearness-Fashion, 2016). At times they work for less than 90 US dollar cents per hour and often have to deal with the consequences of delayed payments (Breyer, 2012).
200 tons of water for each ton of fabric that needs to be dyed; resulting not only New York’s street fashion is dyed in this season’s main colour, but also many of China’s rivers (Breyer, 2012). It might be pretty, but don’t we all want out drinking water to be as clear as possible?
“Toxic wastewater is dumped into rivers that flow trough villages where children play along its banks.”
The carbon footprint of the worldwide clothing footprint is 330MtCO2 every year, which is 1,2% of the global production. But that amount is only accounting for the production of clothing. In fact the use of clothing (washing, drying, ironing and dry-cleaning) causes an extra amount of 530mtCO2, which is the same as 2% of global production. So in total the clothing industry is the cause of 3,2% of all co2 emission on earth (Carbontrust, 2011).
There is no way to deny that the worldwide clothing industry has an effect on the environment and the health of 7 billion people. This million-dollar industry (3 trillion US Dollars to be exact (Breyer, 2012)) is one of the most contradicting industries. Getting dressed is such a basic need, but is it necessary that with every T-shirt made, 2700 (Breyer, 2012) liters of toxic wastewater is dumped into a river that flows trough villages where children play along its banks?