by Taetske | 5:10 pm
(Last Updated On: September 17, 2019)

Is fashion a danger to our environment?

 

girl shopping for clothes

Girl shopping for clothes

 

These past years one has quite often heard of awful accidents in factories where clothes are made. These factories are in countries like Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh, where working conditions are far below what we are used to in Western countries. Wages are not enough to provide food for a family and working hours are more than what is considered human.

Do not even think about having a day off or holidays, all concepts which are considered our rights are often non-existent.

 

Unhuman like conditions

We would not be willing to work under these type of conditions, so fashion brands take the work to countries where jobs are needed and wages below the minimum. All of this, just to give the western world the privilege of being up to date with fashion. To make this fashion affordable, these measures seem to be necessary.

 

mannequins on display

Mannequins on display

 

“Slave” labor in the garment industry

We have heard about those awful accidents like that big fire which claimed 100 victims. Fire escape doors and extinguishers are not there or too few so that any fire would cost many lives. The garment industry in the U.S. knows this kind of tragedy all too well, as, in 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire claimed the lives of 146 people.

The U.S. modified their fire codes to help prevent these kinds of terrible events from ever happening again.

Now we just moved the slave labor overseas. To areas where people must work in below substandard conditions and dangerous environments.  When a catastrophe does strike, people who were the only breadwinner are suddenly not there anymore. In these countries, those families cannot fall back on help from a social security system, something we find normality.

 

working in a garment factory

Working in a garment factory

 

Consumerism-driven economy

If all this were not enough, some new data has come to light which makes one rethink about our shopping habits. We live in a consumerism-driven economy. A buy and throw away society, to make a place for the latest fashion. It is quite alarming how easily we waste clothes when somewhere else people have hardly anything to wear.

Influenced by advertisements, tv, the internet, and blogs by people, we buy the latest without realizing the effects it has on our environment.

The fashion industry seems to be one of the top five most-polluting industries in the world. This is quite amazing as one normally thinks that the oil industry is the main culprit. We know by now that plastic is polluting our planet. Then there are too many cars and transport in general which pollute the air. But would you have thought that the fashion branch would add to pollution?

 

cotton plantation

Cotton Plantation

 

100 billion new garments from new fibers are produced every year

That is a huge amount and our planet cannot sustain that. There are many things involved in making a garment. To produce cotton, which is the most common fiber used in textiles produced in the EU, one needs pesticides, toxic dyes in the manufacturing, and heaps of water. Actually, the volume of water needed is more than one can imagine.

Did you know that for one pair of jeans 2000 gallons ( 7600 liters ) liters of water are needed to grow the cotton and the manufacturing process?  When one realizes that 2,000 million people do not have their daily drinkable water guaranteed, this figure is really a scandal.

I live in the south of Spain and have a household of 2 people, some animals, and farmland. For personal use we calculate half a cubic meter, that is 500 liters a day. That means that the 7800 liters needed for 1 pair of jeans would keep us going for many days. That is a figure which makes you think.

 

Have you heard of the disappearing of the Aral Sea?

This sea was one of the biggest inland seas in the world. Tourists would go there and admire its beauty. It was the home of fish and a lot of wildlife depending on its water. It used to be huge with 68,000 sq km.  It started to shrink in the 1960s because of cotton production. Now it looks like a desert landscape, all dry. One of its feeding rivers – the Amu Darya – has been diverted and all its water is used for cotton production farms with no water left over to feed the sea.

There you see how cotton production can have an altering and negative effect on our ecosystems and environment.

 

 

More places in the world with problems

The river Citarum in Indonesia is one of those places linked with garment making. There are 400 factories and these factories pollute the waterways on a daily basis. This water is used by the local people to do their washing and personal hygiene and now it turns out this water is loaded with mercury, cadmium, lead, and arsenic. What effect does the toxic level of the water have on the people? That is really something to ponder upon.

Take for example mercury. Your health will suffer if you breathe it, eat it, and also if your skin comes in contact with it. These people swim in it. Big companies Like Zara, Asos, M&S, and Monsoon are not really open to discussing these type of issues.

 

the many different brands of jeans

The many different brands of jeans

 

The Jeans Brand Levi’s

Luckily, the awareness of causing harm to people and the environment as a whole, does make some people think. Mr. Dillinger, who is the head of global production for the jeans brand Levi’s has voiced concern. They are trying to work on a solution by taking old garments, chemically deconstruct them and make them into new fiber. This new fiber feels and looks like cotton but has zero water impact.

This is a good start. If we want to go shopping, ignorant of all issues connected and the effects on large areas in the world, governments will have to make new laws. Otherwise, it is up to us to force the fashion brands to realize this. Their earning potential will fall unless they start investing in eco-friendly production.

Although this might be still somewhere in the future, we must make them aware of the damage done and at least starts thinking about it.

 

shopping in the mall

Shopping in the mall

 

Shopping Trends have changed

Nowadays the internet is growing more and more powerful and younger people, in particular, follow trends set by their fashion influencers. One of them, Niomi Smart has started to call for a change in attitude. Having been informed about the damage fast fashion causes on the world, she thinks that talking directly to her followers might bring in results.

I came across this video recently, it was very disturbing. I hope you will take the time to look at it.

 

 

 

Conclusion

To wear a new outfit more than once or perhaps swap it with your family or friends should not be looked down on. To suddenly stop shopping is not realistic. We must become aware of the millions of gallons of fresh water needed to grow cotton or the fact that this water is then polluted with toxic chemicals to dye the clothes.

Water belongs to all the people in the world, it is a basic right. We should rethink our actions and stop wasting water this way.

 

Source: BBC, story by Radhika Sanghani on 9 October 2018

Photo Source: Pixabay

So many people do not have their daily drinking water guaranteed. Perhaps you like to read the following post.

Unbelievable! 2000 million People have no Clean Water

Comments

AnxietyPanda

The information provided in this article is shocking! :O I never knew that the fashion industry had so many negative impacts for the world. 

I’ve never been into fashion, luckily, but this has inspired me to be even MORE careful with my clothe buying habits.

More people need to read this article! I will be sure to share this link. 

Oct 30.2018 | 05:15 pm

    Taetske

    Good afternoon, sorry, I do not know your name.

    Thank you for visiting my website and leaving a comment. I hope you downloaded your free PDF?

    It is shocking, that is true. We have no idea what really happens in the time before buying the latest fashion. I also found it awful finding out about all of this and that is why I needed to write this post. Thank you for sharing the link, the more people find out about it the better.

    Regards, Taetske

    Oct 30.2018 | 06:03 pm

Alexander

I was aware of the detrimental effects of electronics on the environment, but I didn’t realize so much before reading your article that the fashion and garment industry hungry for water wasting cotton was so bad for the environment. Thank you for making the effort to raise awareness of this big problem.

As far as electronics go, it is so important to recycle and it looks like recycling garments is also soon possible. As for working conditions, Apple is the worst company in the world for this as they employ poor Chinese people with the worst, even suicidal, conditions and pay below a livable wage.

Oct 30.2018 | 05:19 pm

    Taetske

    Good afternoon Alexander,

    Being up to date, being “modern” has a lot of negative sides to it. I think it is possible to have a nice life but take better care of our habitat. We only have one after all.

    Electronics is one of those things. It seems that people always need the latest model and throw away  the old one even if that laptop or mobile still functions very well. One should try and change the way of thinking but that is probably very difficult. 

    I hope that one day all people will realize that Mother Earth is the habitat of us all instead of only a few.

    Thank you for leaving a comment on my post. I hope you have downloaded your free PDF?

    Regards, Taetske

    Oct 30.2018 | 06:03 pm

Florence Ki

Wow… this is really something new to me. I didn’t know that cotton can cause so much environmental and social issue. All these while, I always buy cotton products. Luckily, the only jeans that I wear is Levis brand. Living lean should be the next trend that we should emulate so together we are able to save our mother earth. Thanks for sharing such awesome post. 

Oct 30.2018 | 05:21 pm

    Taetske

    Good Morning Florence,

    I am happy to hear you found my post interesting. I was also shocked when I found out about the impact cotton crops have on the environment. It is not something one hears about much. Also, the working conditions of these people are so awful, it really is a scandal. 

    Thank you for visiting my website and leaving a comment. I hope you downloaded your free PDF?

    Regards, Taetske

    Oct 31.2018 | 07:27 am

Wiebren

Hi Taetske, I hope your article wakes a few people up. Hemp and bamboo seem to be much more sustainable alternatives. What’s your take on these? Being a veggo I often quote that it takes 15 times as much water to grow a kilo of beef than a kilo of beans.
My perfectly good IPad can now not install certain Apps as it’s operating system is out of date. I am therefore ‘forced’ to replace it. I agree modern consumerism is unsustainable. Luckily in Australia we have Op-shop where you can buy secondhand clothes and save them from becoming landfill.

Nov 02.2018 | 01:54 am

    Taetske

    Good Morning Wiebren,

    Thank you for your visit to my website and leaving a comment. I hope you downloaded your free PDF.

    Bambu and especially Hemp are great. Besides clothes and kitchen utensils I have seen you can build a house with Hemp being the main construction material, quite amazing I must say. I know quite a bit about building as I have supervised the building of a house and even have done building myself. 2 fishponds, bookshelves, flowerbeds and a 12 pillar pergola. This was of course with stone and cement.

    I have my mobile on off in my handbag. The thing is more than 20 years old. I probably use it only for calling about 3 times a year in an emergency like stuck on the road or late for an appointment. I do not like machines, I am a nature person. You will understand my love/hate relationship with my little laptop.

    There are too many cows in the world and they contribute to Global Warming on top of it they are unhappy cows. The human race still has a long way to go.

    Regards, Taetske

    Nov 02.2018 | 07:39 am

    Taetske

    p.s. I am sending you the link to another post. I think the video at the bottom of the post is very good albeit very sad.

    Regard, Taetske

    https://motherearthstreasures.com/urgent-are-our-future-generations-at-risk

    Nov 02.2018 | 07:46 am

Ayodeji

Fast fashion criticisms include its negative impact on the environment, water pollution, the use of toxic chemicals, and rising textile waste levels. Textile waste is a material considered by the owner to be unusable so it is discarded. That produces dangerous pollution in the environment.  Textile waste includes waste from the fashion and textile industries produced during the production of fiber, textiles, and clothing, Consumer waste is caused through consumption and disposal.

Mar 23.2019 | 07:35 am

    Taetske

    Good Morning Ayodeji,

    Thank you for the comment on my website. I hope you downloaded your free PDF?

    We should become aware that owning 10 pair of jeans but our environment has gone missing is really not the way to go. To have less will be more in the end. I prefer to be able to live a healthy life surrounded by beautiful nature with clean air and water. 

    Regards, Taetske

    Mar 23.2019 | 12:12 pm

Olanike

God! I wouldn’t believe if someone will tell me fashion could have so much unfavorable impact on our world. Henceforth I would change my style of clothing and purchasing habit too. I will make it a priority to make sure my friends and family read this article too. It’s our responsibility to protect our environment

Mar 23.2019 | 07:38 am

    Taetske

    Good Morning Olanike,

    Thank you for visiting my website and leaving a comment. I hope you downloaded your free PDF?

    We all have a responsibility toward our environment, after all, it is our habitat, ours and future generations.

    It is a good idea to think if our action has a positive or negative consequence. Like that we might change some of our habits.

    Regards, Taetske

    Mar 23.2019 | 12:00 pm

Wealthfather

This is an informative and educative article. You have thoroughly put everything in perspective for anyone reading this post to understand the points. Its shocking to discover fashion industries are causing alot of havoc and has negative impact this much. I am a fashion freak and I must say this is an eyeopener for me, I recomend this article for everyone to read because its full of secrets. I have also downloaded the free pdf. Thanks for sharing.

Mar 23.2019 | 07:38 am

    Taetske

    Good Morning,

    Thank you for stopping by again and leaving a comment. I hope next time you will tell me your name?

    This company where you can download your free PDF has more than 60.000. I hope you found one you like.

    Even if one is a fashion freak I think it is still possible to go shopping in a responsible way.

    Regards, Taetske 

    Mar 23.2019 | 11:54 am

Louis

Wow…no I feel sad that I contribute to this. It is very alarming the disaster humanity is wrecking on mother nature. I didn’t know so much waste and pollution goes into the production of just one pair of Jeans. It’s a good idea to have these jeans recycled, to help sustain our environment. 

As you’ve mentioned, we cannot just stop shopping, however, we can change our attitude to the sustainment of our world.

Regards

Mar 23.2019 | 07:38 am

    Taetske

    Good Morning Louis,

    Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. I hope you have downloaded your free PDF?

    We all contribute to this problem so it is good to see what consequences our actions have. If everybody would change just a little bit on the total it would have a big impact.

    Regards, Taetske

    Mar 23.2019 | 11:49 am

Jay

It is sad that the companies producing these clothes don’t like to consider the dangers their companies cause to our environment. One of the things they now do is to try and remove the manufacturing companies from their own locations and take it to less developed countries that don’t have much say in such a situation.

We are so used to growing trends that we shop on a regular basis just so we would not wear the same outfit twice in a week. A lot of us are guilty of this and need to change how we think and act if we are to make a change happen in the clothing industry.

Mar 23.2019 | 07:44 am

    Taetske

    Good Morning Jay,

    It is high time we change our habits. We do the shopping and therefore we are the people who should protest so the clothes manufacturers take steps to protect the environment. The environment is our habitat so we should take better care of it.

    Nice to see you again. Thank you for your comment.

    Regards, Taetske

    Mar 23.2019 | 11:44 am

ajibola40

Thanks for writing this article on the danger of fashion to our society.I find this article so informative and educative on things I did not know about. What happens when jeans and some other items of clothing are made and how much water is needed. Fashion design is what we can’t stop now and at the same times we can’t overlook the danger it has on our environment, especially the waste of water 

Mar 23.2019 | 07:46 am

    Taetske

    Good Morning Ajibola,

    Nice to see you again. Thank you for your comment.

    When 2000 million people worldwide have no drinkable water available and we waste water in making clothes I think it is high time to make some changes 

    Regards, Taetske

    .

    Mar 23.2019 | 11:41 am

Adamu2

Hello, this Information is very shocking. I don’t know cotton can cause environmental and social issues. We only think of the positive side of fashion not knowing it is having negative side effects on some communities. Water has many roles to play in human life. Recycling of garments should be put In place. Thanks for the insightful information. Best regards 

Mar 23.2019 | 07:49 am

    Taetske

    Good Morning Adamu,

    Yes, it is very shocking. When I investigated for writing this post I learned some new things. Our actions can have positive but also negative consequences. We are responsible for our environment so we better rethink our shopping habits and also protest to the clothing manufacturers.

    Thank you for leaving a comment. I hope you downloaded your free PDF?

    regards, Taetske

    Mar 23.2019 | 12:19 pm

Barrywesley

This article is an eye opener considering things that are happening in the fashion world today. I can remember this friend of mine who does use a phone for 3 months. When the latest phone is out he will purchase the latest then looking for a way to dispose of the old one,  the world today does not encourage young people to do things that are reasonable especially in the area of spending money,  it doesn’t encourage savings. Because they always want to get the latest 

Mar 23.2019 | 07:52 am

    Taetske

    Good Morning Barry,

    Thank you for leaving a comment on my website. I hope you downloaded your free PDF?

    Well, that is quite a story about your friend who needs a new phone every 3 months. My phone is more than 20 years old and I might use it 3 times a year in an emergency when I am on the road.

    As I am a woman I also love shopping but that does not mean I get a completely new wardrobe every season. It definitely is good to think about our actions and what positive or negative things they might cause.

    Regards, Taetske 

    Mar 23.2019 | 11:34 am

Irin Khan

Hi,

Thank you very much for sharing your informative post about the Negative Impact of Fashion. You describe clearly the way cotton pollutes the environment. Garment factories play an important role in the economy and our daily life. So we must take steps to reduce the negative impact of the fashion industry.
I will share this post with my friends and family.

Mar 23.2019 | 08:20 am

    Taetske

    Good Morning Irin,

    Thank you for your comment. I hope you downloaded your free PDF?

    People normally do not think about these things, we are so used to go shopping. The negative impact this might have on the environment was also a surprise for me. Thank you for sharing this post with friends and family, the more people know about this the better.

    Regards, Taetske

    Mar 23.2019 | 11:29 am

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