Fashion industry is considered to be the second biggest polluters in the world. With the rise of fast fashion and unplanned growth of fashion industry, there raises a great concern for the environment as well.
While, globally, the textile sector is the second highest user of water contributing to water waste by 20%, the apparel industry emits 10% of carbon dioxide alone. Furthermore, only 15% of textile waste is recycled whereas the remaining 85% is sent to landfill which puts negative impact on the environment globally contributing to global warming. Chemical dyes used in the process leach into the soil, contaminating surface and groundwater.
In Bangladesh, garment and textile industry grew at an unprecedented rate since 1978. Today, 45% of all industrial employment is in the garment and textile sector, contributing to 5% of total national income. 78% of the country’s export earning comes from this sector. Aside of such significant contribution to the country’s economy, all aspects of the industry, namely spinning, weaving, knitting, wet processing and ready-made garment manufacturing pollute the air, water and soil. Most factories, locating along the river banks, dump waste and hazardous chemicals into the rivers affecting the marine ecosystem, reducing fish population and resulting in unsuitable land for cultivation. Only a handful of factories have effluent water treatment plants.
After the Rana Plaza tragedy, the garment industry in Bangladesh has forgone many changes to be more and more compliant and incorporate sustainable practices within the factories, yet there is much more to be done.
ActionAid Bangladesh and Fashion Revolution organized a dialogue surrounding sustainable production and consumption to talk about challenges in past, present and future, of the garment and fashion industry in Bangladesh.