The fashion industry is also responsible for 20% of all industrial water pollution worldwide.(The Ellen McArthur Foundation) The majority of the water used during the production of garments is for the dyeing process.Most clothing is dyed synthetically which has detrimental effects on our natural environment.
The Yangtze River, which runs throughout China, is one of the hundreds of water sources heavily polluted by the fashion industry. "There is a joke in China that you can tell the 'it' color of the season by looking at the color of the rivers." - Orsola de Castro, Founder of fashionrevolution.org.(Webber)
Billions of tonnes of wastewater containing chemical dyes are flushed into water sources. Highly toxic chemicals do not break down as they enter water streams and make their way through water systems globally. While we get a wild and wonderful kaleidoscope of colors to wear, the world's water systems are poisoned. Chemicals and mordants dissolve water oxygen to levels that are unable to sustain the lives of aquatic animals.
As China continues to develop at a rapid rate, and without environmental protection laws being put into place, many citizens around the country are starting to feel the serious effects of this industrialization. There are over 400 small pockets of villages near factories or along the Yangtze River that have earned the new moniker of "Cancer Villages". (White)
Over 70% of water sources in China are heavily contaminated, which results in an estimated 1.4 billion people being unable to access clean water. What's infuriating is that the water is mainly flushed through untraceable pipes meaning no individual brand or retailer can be held accountable.