How Is The Apparel Industry Contributing To Environmental Pollution?

As students, we all have written several plagiarism free essays on the consequences of environmental pollution in our childhood. But sadly, most of us are too reluctant to act on it, even though we are grown-ups now. It is a well-established fact that each consumer product affects the environment directly or indirectly.

On the one hand, models in dazzling attire sashay down the ramp to present the latest trends, on the other hand, people are completely oblivious of the detrimental impact of the glamorous fashion industry on the environment? It may be hard to digest the fact without proper elaboration. Thus, we’ll take the long route here and analyze the nitty-gritty of the matter.

Let us delve right into the current issues.

How Does the Garment Industry Contribute To The Pollution?

Your closet has a major role to play in the ever-increasing environmental pollution. The trend of ‘fast fashion’ has brought about a boom in the apparel industry, having an adverse effect on the environment. It is estimated that almost 20 clothes are manufactured each year per person. The mass manufacturing of inexpensive clothing has resulted in the production of more wastes. Let us take a look at how the clothing industry has harmful effects on the environment.

  • Water Pollution and Stress

The drastic impact of the textile industry goes beyond emissions. Dyes used in the manufacturing process, pollute the waterways. Moreover, the polyester clothes when washed in the washing machine shed plastic microfibers, which are then found in the aquatic food chain and drinking water. Thus, the effluent water, its increased pH, bleaches, de-foamers, and other harmful chemicals lead to the pollution of the environment.

Apart from the pollution, the growth of the clothing industry has also resulted in the scarcity of water. Do you know that a cotton shirt requires almost 2,700 liters of water? This is almost equivalent to the water requirement of a single person for two years or even more. You will be more shocked to hear that the Aral Sea in Central Asia has almost disappeared due to excessive cotton shirt manufacturing.

  • Global Warming

The textile production results in the production of 1.2 billion tones of greenhouse gas each year. Synthetic fibers like polyesters are known to emit more greenhouse gases than natural fibers, as it has more carbon footprint.

Do you know the consequence of the wet treatment process on the textiles? High amounts of fossil fuels are consumed during the process. This ultimately results in acidification, depletion of natural resource and global warming.

  • Deforestation

The textile industry accounts for deforestation, across the whole world. The materials that are gathered for wood-based fabrics like modal, rayon, and viscose result in the felling of trees. To cater to the vast requirements of the apparel industry, millions of trees are cut, which affects the flora and fauna balance. Some of the regions that are highly affected are Indonesia, South America, and Africa.

As you can see that the condition has reached a critical stage. Thus, we have to wake up from the dormant state and take immediate action.


What Is The Solution?

Now that we know about the environmental impact of the apparel industry, how can we prevent further damage? We are already in a critical situation. Thus, we need to act fast. The apparel industry and the common people need to come up with effective steps to curb the prevalent issues.

Many companies are taking the initiative to bring about a change in the manufacturing process of the clothes. One aspect that has proved to be extremely beneficial in this process is the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s Higg Index. It lets the textile companies measure the social, environmental and other factors, which in turn helps them to adopt strategies. Let us take a look at some of the other steps taken so far:

  • Using Eco-friendly Clothes

The eco-friendly clothes are high-quality materials and durable. Thus, the brands are becoming increasingly mindful of the manufacturing process. “Green Apparel” is slowly gaining prominence, and the situation is taking a turn for the better.

  • Clothing Recycling

Most companies have joined hands in recycling clothes. H&M and Zara, joined the other 33 companies to increase the clothing recycling process by 2020. Due to the environmental awareness programs, reusable clothes, scraps, rags, and fibrous materials are being recycled. The clothes are then processed and reused.

  • Less Water Consumption

Most companies have agreed to take another step in a bid to reduce the water consumption for the production of the clothes. A small Los Angeles-based clothing company, Reformation, has come up with effective measures to cut down water usage.

Apart from the steps mentioned above, we can also take a look at some of the options listed below.

  • Enhancing Process Control

If the pollution has to be kept in check, then further effective measures need to be implemented.  The time, pressure, pH, temperature of the cloth manufacturing process needs to be optimized. This step requires complex monitoring of production, waste management and etc.

  • Modification of Equipment

The modification of the existing equipment will definitely help in reducing air pollution and bring down the requirement of water. Moreover, waste production will also go down. Isolation of hot pipes, optimization of tank volumes is some of the instances the branded companies need to begin with. In addition to this, bringing in advanced equipment will also ace the manufacturing process, and lead to the removal of faulty machines.

  • Incorporation of EIA and EMS

Change needs to incorporated into the decision making process too. Environmental impact assessment (EIA) takes into consideration the positive and negative effects of the planned projects.  The environmental management system (EMS) is aimed at the management of the interlinked activities that have a direct impact on the environment. Thus, the apparel industry should include these steps while taking a major decision.

The path to environmental pollution control is challenging and requires a collaborative effort from both the producers and the consumers. Do you have any interesting ideas to reduce the drastic impact of the textile industry on the environment? Do let us know in the comment section. Every suggestion matters.



About the Author

Author Bio: William Shell a Writer and Enthusiastic blogger. He is also associated with a reputed company for the past couple of years. Here, he delivers perfect essay help to students on their requests. Besides being an active blogger, he loves to travel around the world.  

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