Every time we buy jeans in Zara, a jersey in Mango or slippers in H & M we are loading the planet much more than most of us had probably imagined. This was stated a few days ago by experts and authorities of the UN when cataloging the fast fashion industry as an “environmental emergency” because of the negative effects it has on our environment and health. And, in fact, many of these damages are born in Spanish soil, since Inditex is the largest fast fashion company in the world and its owner and daughter, Amancio Ortega and Sandra Ortega, are the only billionaires in Spain in the list of 500 greatest fortunes in the world, according to the Bloomberg news agency.
The numbers speak for themselves. At the UN event, Fashion and the Sustainable Development Goals: What Role for the UN ?, he warned that after the energy industry, fashion is the one that uses more water for its processes in the world. As one of the UN analysts, Birgit Lia Altmann, warned, just to produce a kilogram of cotton, more than 10,000 liters of water are needed. In other words, the amount of water required to manufacture jeans is the same as that consumed by an individual in ten years. While there are still people around the world who are sick because they do not have drinking water at their disposal.
Beyond waste, fast fashion also has a relevant role in the pollution of the Earth. It produces, nothing more, nothing less, than 20% of the wastewater that is generated worldwide and is responsible for 10% of the carbon dioxide emissions that are emitted into the atmosphere. An amount that is even greater than that left in the air all international flights and freight transport together.
These data show that this industry dangerously harms our health and environment, as well as being one of the most aggravating the terrible effects of global warming. All this led Olga Algayerova, executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), to remember that solutions must be found. “It is clear that the fashion industry must change its gears and be responsible with the environment,” he warned to also put on the table that it is crucial to promote sustainable consumption habits to minimize the damage caused by fast fashion.