So here’s one about my little sister yelling at her little sister “It’s just one T-shirt” and me muttering with a follow-up sound spelled as – “Said 8 billion people”.
For me, closets were nothing more than a comfort space. Until I learned this!
Fashion—a $2.5 trillion sector—is the second most polluting industry on Earth, right behind oil and sits there tight enough because of our inability to identify a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”.
“The greatest threat to planetary-life is the “hope” that someone else is going to come and save all of us ” –Robert Swan
Well, hope still remains to be a good thing after all these years. But only if demarcated with a thin line between being “hopeful” & being “unjustifiably optimistic”, while we keep filling our closets mindlessly with toxic clothes and put millions of lives at risk, including ours.
Over 67% of the fishes sampled from the river “Thames” were contaminated with microfibers – tiny pieces of plastics, which are killing the planet & your ethics too, all damn day.
Microfiber ; a very fine synthetic yarn, is a synthetic fiber finer than one denier or having a diameter of less than ten micrometers which cannot be seen with a naked eye but can be easily found in your milk, chips, beer, salt, & fish, these days.
Microfibers are half the diameter of a fine silk fibre , one-third the diameter of cotton, one-quarter the diameter of fine wool, and one hundred times finer than human hair. Precisely, the reason they get ignored despite being extremely notorious. When manufactured, washed and worn, synthetic clothes & textiles shed tiny plastic fibers in the form of microplastics, microbeads & microfibers that end up in the environment posing incalculable risk to the life-forms.
The advent of artificial fibers is marked by E. I. du Pont de Nemours in 1920 when it purchased a 60% interest in Comptoir des Textiles Artificiels, a French rayon company, for $4 million. The combined firm is today known as the DuPont. Toray, Teijin, Hoechst, ICI, are some more names which are believed to be early-comers.
Being lightweight, synthetic fabrics resist-wrinkling, have a luxurious drape on the body and retain shape along with their habit of disrupting the planetary-health until they disintegrate completely, which generally takes 200 years.
Not only that, over 2000 toxic chemicals come absolutely free when you buy one synthetic cloth for yourself. In the long-haul, this adds to the misery of human-life in the form of reported poisoning, brain damage, hormonal issues, reproductive & sexual issues due to the ingestion of microfibers.
By the time you have finished reading this sentence, 2 garbage trucks of textiles have been dumped in the landfills.
That doesn’t sound like a problem yet. Does it? Maybe no, because you think it ends right there in the landfills. Sadly enough.
Since synthetic clothes are rarely bio-degradable, they keep lurking around until they finally make room in our food-chain to disrupt our health, almost irreversibly. There is irrefutable proof that microfibers are not only killing humans but also upsetting the balance of ecosystem, at large.
It’s affect on the overall planetary-health is so enormous that a casual exposure to the facts might make you cringe on the synthetic clothes you are wearing, right now!
Okay. You’ll never guess this one right!
How many fishes you might be killing if you decide to wash your favourite polyester T-shirt, one fine afternoon?
In a study of wastewater from household washing machines, Browne estimated that about 1900 MP fibers can be released in a single wash of synthetic cloth – acrylic, nylon, polyester, spandex, acrylic. Another group of scientists concluded that a “single” microfiber is enough to kill a larvae fish. If the experts weren’t joking, it infers that we are killing almost 1900 larvae fishes in a typical wash of synthetic cloth.
Clinical Evidences raising concerns.
A study by University of Newcastle, in Australia suggests all of us could be swallowing a credit card’s weight (5gm) of plastic every day. Microplastics are a part of new-normal as they can be found in everyday foods and drinks, such as water, beer, shellfish and salt, co-lead researcher Kala Senathirajah told CNN
“Synthetic fibres were everywhere” – That’s what she said. When Professor Sherri Mason cut open a Great Lakes fish, she was alarmed at what she found. Under a microscope, they seemed to be “weaving themselves into the gastrointestinal tract”.
The research, commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) had to sadly declare that an average person consumes as many as 1,769 particles of plastic every week just by drinking water. Now, knowing there is plastic in your water; would you stop drinking water? The irony is NO, you cannot. But you can obviously be wise with your choices. If that restores the quality of water to a level where life is possible!
“Slow fashion is the future” argues Kirsi Niinimäki, a professor of design at Finland’s Aalto University, in the journal Nature Reviews Earth & Environment.
The policy level changes are urgent and simple. For instance, making it compulsory to list the names of chemicals on the clothing label that are stuck in your clothing can dramatically alter consumer choice.
The solution is easier than you think, trust me on that one. It’s more of a mental exercise than a physical one. All you need on a typical “Sunday afternoon” is the patience & intent to clean up the dirt. If you have it, half of the work is done.
Here’s a list of 5 EASY steps you can go down with, in order to cover the remaining half:
1. Buy Less.
4.Donate & Swap clothes
5.Think – About the afterlife & before-life of a cloth you’re buying.
“We’re the first generation to face the adversities of climate change and the last generation that can do anything about it”
Just remember, by taking informed decisions we are not saving planet health, we are merely waking to the reality that human race is indomitable.