Not to bum you out, but the manufacturing processes that make your beloved fast fashion so dang affordable may be killing fishes and poisoning wells half a world away.
According to China Daily, a report produced by Bejing-based environmental organization EnviroFriends (who may or may not work for Captain Planet) claims that the textile industry produced 2.5 billion metric tons of sewage in 2010, making garment production the third-largest water polluter in China.
If that all sounds a little abstract, consider this — the water supply for one-fifth of all Chinese cities and 300 million rural residents does not meet basic safety standards. Crunch the numbers and it looks like there are more Chinese citizens than people live in the United States and Canada combined that could be drinking, bathing, and eating crops grown in water containing thousands of toxic textile-production byproducts.
Perhaps worst of all, China is currently so industry-friendly that the fines for abuse often cost manufacturers less than the costs of creating more responsible production methods.
We just bummed you out, didn’t we? Sorry.
So, given that China is manufactures over 50% of all textiles worldwide, what can be done (other than feeling awful)?
First, cut down on your consumption of fast fashion and purchase garments made within sustainable, well-regulated guidelines. Secondly, however you can, petition the Chinese government to crack down on abusers and support environmental groups that push for change. Finally, hit up the websites or social media channels of your favorite brands and tell them that, as much as you love their clothes, you think they need to take sustainable production serious. Brands are in the business of responding to the public, and if enough of their fans pipe up, you can bet they’ll address those concerns rather than risk losing their customers.
Applying just a tenth of the energy, money, and time you dedicate to filling your closets and perfecting your looks to shopping carefully, spreading awareness, supporting change, and communicating with brands could go very far to rescuing China’s shrinking, endangered water supply… and resolve any guilt associated with browsing your favorite mall-brand’s catalog. (China Daily)
Photo: via China Daily.