Did you know that our frequent and impulsive urge for new clothing creates long-term and potentially irreversible environmental damage and impacts several living beings and micro-organism! Clothes and its supply chain is the third largest polluting industry, emitting 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Clothes are hurting many lives in many ways, across their lifecycle, right from the production of the raw materials, cloth production, dyeing, transportation and last but not the least, disposing the used clothes. Let’s take a quick look!
More than 99% of the dyes used are all chemical based and thus dyeing process releases a cocktail of chemicals, salts and heavy metals that hurt the environment and pollute essential drinking water sources. Fashion is responsible for up to one-fifth of industrial water pollution, as wastewater is commonly dumped directly into rivers and streams, killing aquatic plants and animals. Chemical-laden water is also used to irrigate crops, resulting in textile dyes making their way into vegetables and fruit grown.
Detergents are tough on stains but also on our planet. Detergents don’t completely biodegrade; they contaminate our rivers and oceans with toxic heavy metals, resulting in killing of marine life.
With world as one global market, we might be buying T-shirts made of cotton grown in our backyard after it has travelled through the world as spinning, weaving, dyeing, and stitching could all happen in different counties based on availability of cheap labour and technology. This huge transportation has precipitated with the rising ecommerce industry and associated increase in returned goods. Reverse logistics, re-packaging all entail cost, and many e-commerce retailers prefer to burn down their goods instead of transporting them back to their source, adding to himsa and the pollution burden.
So, what is the solution here? As told by Lord Mahavira, Apiragrah is one approach! Go on a fashion diet! Buy limited clothes, decrease your frequency of buying.
Another interesting and upcoming trend abroad, is the emergence of Renting, Sharing clothes through Clothes Libraries.
Also, the emergence of Sustainable Shopping Marketplaces, in India and globally is a positive move. Last but the least, remember that just by using a dress 9 months longer, we can reduce the environmental costs up to a 30 per cent! Covid has made many of us more conscious of our choices and choosing what we wear is clearly one BIG step ahead in our quest for moving upwards in Ahimask lifestyle.
Dimple is an MBA, Finance from NMIMS. Currently working as Asst. VP at a Leading privately held professional services, company, she has supported Eco-friendly initiatives at the Inner Wheel Club of Thane Garden City since, 2018. Looking for opportunities to make a meaningful impact about Climate, she joined the Applied Jainism team.