Fast fash­ion hurt­ing en­vi­ron­ment, so­ci­ety: Study

DNA (Delhi) - - WORLD -

Wash­ing­ton: The over­abun­dance of fast fash­ion — read­ily avail­able, in­ex­pen­sively made cloth­ing — has cre­ated an en­vi­ron­men­tal and so­cial jus­tice cri­sis, a study claims.

Glob­ally, 80 bil­lion pieces of new cloth­ing are pur­chased each year, trans­lat­ing to $1.2 tril­lion an­nu­ally for the fash­ion in­dus­try, ac­cord­ing to the study pub­lished in the jour­nal En­vi­ron­men­tal Health.

The ma­jor­ity of these prod­ucts are as­sem­bled in China and Bangladesh, while the US con­sumes more cloth­ing and tex­tiles than any other coun­try in the world, the re­searchers said.

“From the growth of wa­ter-in­ten­sive cot­ton, to the re­lease of un­treated dyes into lo­cal wa­ter sources, to worker’s low wages and poor work­ing con­di­tions, the en­vi­ron­men­tal and so­cial costs in­volved in tex­tile man­u­fac­tur­ing are wide­spread,” said Chris­tine Ekenga, an as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor at the Wash­ing­ton Univer­sity in the US.

“This is a mas­sive prob­lem. The dis­pro­por­tion­ate en­vi­ron­men­tal and so­cial im­pacts of fast fash­ion war­rant its clas­si­fi­ca­tion as an is­sue of global en­vi­ron­men­tal in­jus­tice,” Ekenga said.

The study shows that neg­a­tive con­se­quences at each step of the fast-fash­ion sup­ply chain have cre­ated a global en­vi­ron­men­tal jus­tice dilemma, re­searchers said.

“While fast fash­ion of­fers con­sumers an op­por­tu­nity to buy more clothes for less, those who work in or live near tex­tile man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ties bear a dis­pro­por­tion­ate bur­den of en­vi­ron­men­tal health haz­ards,” they said.

In­creased con­sump­tion pat­terns have cre­ated mil­lions of tonnes of tex­tile waste in land­fills and un­reg­u­lated set­tings.

This is par­tic­u­larly ap­pli­ca­ble to low- and mid­dle-in­come coun­tries (LMICs) as much of this waste ends up in sec­ond-hand cloth­ing mar­kets, ac­cord­ing to the study.

“These LMICs of­ten lack the sup­ports and re­sources re­quired to de­velop and en­force en­vi­ron­men­tal and oc­cu­pa­tional safe­guards to pro­tect health,” Ekenga said.

The aim of the re­search is to high­light the en­vi­ron­men­tal and oc­cu­pa­tional haz­ards dur­ing tex­tile pro­duc­tion, par­tic­u­larly in LMICs.

Ma­jor­ity of these prod­ucts are as­sem­bled in China and Bangladesh

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