Fast Fashion is Bad for the Planet and Worse for the People
The textile and garment industry has been threading in unsafe waters these days. Fast fashion has been the go-to of some major players in the textile industry mainly because of the profit, not considering exploitation of the planet's resources and human resources as well. Fast fashion industry operates in a manner that keeps its workers poor and working under unsafe conditions. Because of this, the industry has created a global environmental justice dilemma that impacts both the environment and the marginalized people and communities.
Fast Fashion's impact on the Planet
Untreated wastewater is created from dyeing textiles. These are discharged to local water systems that release heavy metals. Fast fashion's goal is to make shopping for clothes more affordable to the consumer but comes with a price. It comes with environmental repercussions. The fast fashion industry produces 10% of ALL carbon emissions which is the second-largest consumer of water supply in the world.
The industry also contributes to polluting the oceans. Microplastics are released into the oceans. Because of fast fashion, more and more oceans are being polluted. Worldwide, shoppers buy cheap clothes which take a toll on the environment. Statistics show that shoppers order about 60% more garments bought this year compared to the year 2000. It also dumps 85% of its textile. As a $2.5 trillion industry, it relies on releasing new models every month. Zara, H&M, Uniqlo are just some of the big players in the fast fashion industry.
Fast Fashion's Impact on Workers
Aside from the impact on the planet, the industry also abuses workers and their communities. Occupational hazards are common in the industry's workplace. Safety standards are often violated. Due to weak political infrastructure and organizational management, enforcement of laws concerning labor is rarely practiced. The most common sickness is due to cotton dust and synthetic air particles. Respiratory hazards occur due to poor ventilation. Musculoskeletal hazards on the other hand occur because of repetitive motion tasks.
Helping Out on a Personal Level
We can help out the fashion industry and the environment by buying cruelty-free fashion, ethically crafted fashion, and that are made by workers who receive fair wages in a clean working condition. If the demand for fast fashion decreases, the production will also decrease. Promote cruelty-free fashion by starting with what you wear daily.