According to the United Nations Organization, textile processing generates 10% of carbon emissions, above what air and maritime transport can represent.
María Claudia Londoño D
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The jean from every perspective is a clothing element that is used worldwide, in all strata, and has become a garment that we all have in our dressing rooms, since it was created in 1567, when was used the word “Genoese” or “genes” to describe the fabric of the pants worn by merchant sailors traveling from Genoa, Italy. Modern denim emerged with Levi Strauss in 1860.
Did you know that to make a jean, 20% of the water used is wasted, and that 7,500 liters of water are used in the process, equivalent to what a person drinks in 7 years?
This is without counting the thousands of workers in these big-brand factories, including children, whose wages are not even decent enough to eat and live.
The documentary River Blue deals extensively, in which the Canadian expert on water issues Mark Angelo, defender of rivers, explains how he was able to determine the high percentage of contamination in the rivers of India, Indonesia, and China by the production of this denim that in its beginnings was a garment for workers and with the passage of time, has come to be in all closets and cultural and social settings in the world.
His journey shows how chemicals have killed the river in Hazaribagh (Bangladesh) and there are no signs of life in it. In Xintang, considered "the world capital of jeans", due to the high production of jeans, the chemical products have no control or management, they run through the floors to the outside, and the workers do not have any kind of protection, such as masks or gloves to carry out several intensive washes with five heavy metals (cadmium, chromium, mercury, lead, and copper) or spray them to obtain the “acid wash” effect proposed since the 1970s by Francois Guirbaud.
The production of this film had the active and determined participation of the Fashion Revolution and was launched in Madrid, Sao Paulo, San Francisco, Miami, Paris, Los Angeles, Montreal, New York, Capetown, Mexico, Boston, Dubai, Cleveland, Gohtenburg, Sweden, Hong Kong, and other cities, where forums, talks, and meetings were held to raise awareness about this problem.
Can actions be taken? Of course, in addition to changing some clothes in your wardrobe, you can link yourself to real actions against the problems that imply environmental, cultural, social, and economic impacts. On the page https://www.fashionrevolution.org/frw-2023/ you will find information about the next Fashion Revolution Week event that will take place from April 22 to 29.
We can see the problem as far away, but the reality is that we as consumers also have a responsibility and a role to play, since we are part of the denim production and marketing chain.
Will you make the decision to change these garments to fewer polluting ones?