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The Washington Independent

How fast fashion hurts the planet

How fast fashion hurts the planet

The adverse impacts of some of our daily activities, such as driving to and from work as well as using disposable plastic items, are widely known hence actions are being taken to eliminate or make such effects sustainable.

Katya Ryder
Health
Nov 11, 2019

Table of Contents

The adverse impacts of some of our daily activities, such as driving to and from work as well as using disposable plastic items, are widely known hence actions are being taken to eliminate or make such effects sustainable. On the other hand, the impacts of what we wear are less obvious hence are often not the first point of discussion regarding environmental sustainability. However, studies and trends are now putting the impacts of the fashion industry in the right perspective. A recent study by Betway highlighted some of the scary figures from the fashion industry.

Fast fashion

Statistics show that an average of 60% more garments was purchased in 2014 than in 2000, leading to almost double clothing production. Also, these clothes were only kept for half as long resulting in 85% of all textiles going to the dump annually. This quick and cheap production of clothing items that quickly end up in the bin is referred to as fast fashion.

The urgency and immediacy traits shown by millennials are the key drivers of fast fashion but it poses serious global problems including:

 Excessive pressure on resources

The astronomical increase in demand for clothes saw fashion companies offer an average of collections in 2011, from an average of two collections in 2000. Brands such as H&M and Zara offer up to 16 and 24 respectively. This puts a lot of pressure on available resources and fosters the use of unsustainable resources. For example, at the current water consumption level in the industry, experts warn that we might soon face serious water shortages globally.

Carbon emissions

The fashion industry produces up to 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions, more than the total carbon emissions from international flights and maritime shipping. It is second only to the oil industry. This level of emissions contributes significantly to serious problems such as global warming and climate change. The recent heatwave in the US and Canada is an example of how debilitating these things are.

Water pollution

Besides the excessive water usage in the fashion industry, it also contributes significantly to water pollution. Water used for activities such as textile dyeing is often released into water bodies untreated, especially in developing countries. Also, materials such as synthetic polymers take hundreds of years to decompose and when they eventually do, they release microplastics which also end up in the ocean.

Green evolution

All the indications highlighted above require drastic and urgent interventions otherwise, the predictions are damning. Fortunately, many top brands are embracing sustainable clothing; eliminating unsustainable practices and procedures. Zara, Nike, and Adidas are some of the brands highlighted in the Betway study.

Also, consumers have to embrace better lifestyles; considering how their clothing choices affect the environment. The demand for new clothes has to reduce and clothes should be used longer. An electronic giant, LG, also launched an initiative that will see clothes last longer through proper management.

Authorities must equally ensure brands comply with best practices in the industry, especially in the fashion industry.

Check out Betway’s awesome infographic here

Katya Ryder | School teacher, earned National Board Certification in 2013 I have a passion for science and majored in biology at Arizona State University, where I also earned teaching certificate and Master of Education

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