The impacts of the fashion industry on the environment are scary, to say the least. It has been a major issue for many years but the pace of growth in the industry has made it an urgent issue.
In recent years, clothing trends change at an exponential rate which unfortunately heightens the catastrophic impacts of the fashion industry on the environment.
In 2018, the fashion industry produced 3.2 billion tons of carbon emissions, 1.2 billion tons of which is an annual greenhouse gas emissions from textile production according to a recent study by Betway. Some of the environmental impacts of the fashion industry are:
Greenhouse Gases Emissions
The carbon emissions from the fashion industry are next only to the oil industry. These greenhouse gases cover both the production and transportation of billions of pieces of clothing annually.
Synthetic polymers production also contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions of the fashion industry. Though they support cloth longevity, their synthetic production leads to worse environmental impacts.
Depletion and Pollution of Water
The production of a single cotton t-shirt requires about 3000 liters of water. It also requires a lot of water to grow despite being typically grown in areas with water scarcity.
Manufacturing and dyeing of textiles also require a lot of water – about 200 tons of water are needed to make a ton of dyed fabric. Most of the wastewater from fashion industries is dumped untreated in water bodies causing pollution.
The shorter the lifespan of clothes, the higher the accumulation of textile waste in landfills. Some of the materials such as polyester can take centuries to decompose and releases microplastics into the soil as they decompose.
The fashion industry uses a lot of non-renewable resources. For example, synthetic polymers are not renewable. Fossil fuels used in the industry are not sustainable and to air pollution and climate change.
The fashion industry contributes hugely to the pollution of air, water, and soil. The world is battling the severe consequences of climate change today, all industries must embrace sustainable living. Fashion brands such as Nike and Adidas have pledged to become greener businesses.