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  • Writer's pictureSophia Wang

Trash River

Last year, I wrote a post about fast fashion. Just a year later, we can see how quickly the situation concerning the environment and fast fashion has deteriorated. Recently, a TikTok video went viral that showed a “river” of textile pollution in Bangladesh. There are discarded textiles and multicolored plastics filling the riverbed between buildings, creating giant heaps of pollution.

Asia is a huge exporter of clothing, with 73% of the United States’ imported clothes in 2023 coming from the continent. China, Vietnam, and Bangladesh lead Asian countries in producing clothes, which is for Bangladesh, their main industry. With $52 billion in exports in 2021, $44 billion of it came from garments.

In general, fast fashion harms the environment from energy usage, microfiber shedding, and harmful chemicals in wastewater. The pollution from textiles and plastics increases the risk of severe flooding, and in terms of carbon emissions, the clothing industry out-produces both the aviation and shipping industries combined.

Despite regulations that have attempted to control the impacts on the environment, enforcement of these regulations has been underwhelming. However, efforts are being made to reduce environmental harm through eco-friendly clothing brands and the greater popularity of buying or thrifting secondhand clothes.

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