“I’ve always been proud to work in the fashion world, but when I discovered how much pollution the apparel industry is responsible for - nearly 10 percent of global carbon emissions - I was shocked. I think it’s really embarrassing for everyone involved in the process.” - Miroslava Duma, Russian digital entrepreneur and international fashion investor.
It is undeniable that the fashion industry has to be the one of the most polluting industries in the world. In an article written in the World Atlas, the fashion industry harms 32 million lives everyday, around the world(1). Little that we know the impact of making a single t-shirt is beyond insight, from the process of farming, picking, weeding and manufacturing until it becomes a piece of cloth(2).
In fact, natural seeds are used for organic cotton. No pesticides were used in the process but alternatively insects such as braconid wasp, beetles or playing mantis help in pest control. Rotational planting will not degrade the soil quality and leads to healthier crops. Organic cotton is therefore safer to skin and reduce pollution.
Did you know the first evidence of cotton use was in India and Pakistan and can be dated back to about 6000 B.C? It all started from picking the cotton pods, then de-seeded, carded and spun into yarn before weaving into a piece of fabric. The steps seem common but it entails pollution. Trucking bales of cotton from fields to textile mills requires gasoline and fossil fuels burned along the production process (3).
Herbicides, which kill weeds, are used in the weeding process of conventional cotton production. The use of such toxic pesticides has an impact on crop quality, depletes soil moisture and nutrients, and harms farmers. Cotton receives more than a quarter of all insecticides used in agriculture. Highly hazardous pesticides and carcinogens are among them. The use of such pesticides on a regular basis may significantly affect the health of the farmers and have a negative impact on the environment.
Chemicals are used extensively in the processing of ordinary cotton. In the production of normal cotton, heavy metals, chlorine, and chemical dyes are not uncommon. The residue of these chemicals stays even after washing the completed products, and it can cause major skin sensitivities. Cotton products have caused several people to develop skin disorders such as eczema.