Fast Fashion Diminishes Water Fast

Wolfe Rygaard

The fashion industry has long been whispering sweet nothings into the ears of its customers. Telling stories about how wearing their brand will make them popular or make them more desirable. For those brave enough to take a peak behind the curtain, they’ll see that every piece of fabric comes with a cost, our precious water. Fast fashion puts a chokehold on the already scarce resource through excessive use and pollution.

The fashion industry has long avoided controversy as it pertains to the environment, largely due to the surrounding human rights violations, however, it is responsible for one-tenth of all of the water used industrially. Using the United State Geological Survey’s (USGS) reported 15.9 billion gallons of water used industrially per day, we find that the fashion industry guzzles 1.59 billion gallons of water each day. With that in mind, let’s find out just how much your clothes really cost. A single cotton shirt requires over 700 gallons of water to make. To put that in perspective, to use 700 gallons of water in a single shower, you’d have to stand there for over four hours! Unfortunately, it doesn’t get much better with a pair of jeans using 1800 gallons of water. If you’re wondering how long you’d have to stand in the shower to match that number, don’t worry, I got you covered. Although it would be an impressive feat, I don’t recommend showering for the necessary 12 hours. With 25 percent of the world population being affected by water scarcity, perhaps we should be using our water more efficiently.

As if using all that water wasn’t enough, fashion also introduces contaminants into the surrounding waters. These contaminants, ranging from dyes to heavy metals, account for 20 percent of global water pollution. To make matters worse, these contaminants can find their way onto our plates if these waters are used for irrigation or fishing. It should be noted that these rivers continue to flow, bringing all the dye, oil, and microplastics to other rivers and streams before dumping them all into the ocean. A real-life example of this is the Pearl River in China. The once-beautiful river was stained a toxic blue due to the production of denim jeans. It goes without saying that the water in the Pearl River, as well as the animals within it(those that survived), became unusable.
China News Digest International

The battle against fast fashion is winnable and, lucky for us, the path to victory is a simple one. The first, and the most important, way is to reduce the number of clothes purchased. With the average customer buying 60 percent more clothing than their counterparts of the last decade, the problems brought on by fast fashion have continued to grow. By purchasing fewer clothes, businesses are more likely to produce fewer clothes. This means less water is used and fewer pollutants are released into the water. Before swiping your card, ask yourself if you truly need to buy clothes. If you thought long and hard and the answer is “Yes”, shop with the purpose of bringing home quality clothes that are designed to last instead of clothes that will need to be replaced the very next day.


Comments / 0

Published by

I am an environmental scientist who currently resides in Puerto Rico. I’m also passionate about basketball and Tottenham Hotspur.

Puerto Rico State

More from Wolfe Rygaard

Comments / 0