80 billion pieces of new clothing are purchased each year around the globe. The majority of these products are assembled in LMICs (low and middle income countries), while the United States consumes more clothing and textiles than any other nation in the world.
Researchers from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis assert that the glut and ready availability of inexpensive clothing has created an environmental and social-justice crisis.
In their paper, “The Global Environmental Injustice of Fast Fashion,” published in the journal Environmental Health, researcher and assistant professor Christine Ekengaand her co-authors, Rachel Bick, MPH ’18, and Erika Halsey, MPH ’18, outline both causes and potential solutions.
“From the growth of water-intensive cotton, to the release of untreated dyes into local water sources, to workers’ low wages and poor working conditions, the environmental and social costs involved in textile manufacturing are widespread,” said Ekenga.