The waste mountain of disposable fashion

Chile is known around the world for its incredible mountain ranges, with as many as 22 mountains peaking over 6,000 meters. But there is a mountain located in the Atacama Desert that is different from the others: a mountain of unworn clothes, which is covering the desert dunes. A sea of Fast Fashion.

Every year, 39,000 tons of clothes end up in Chile that cannot be sold in the United States or Europe and so they occupy a huge space of the desert.

The mountain of clothes is made up of garments created in China and Bangladesh for stores in the United States, Europe and Asia. When the garments are not purchased, they are transported to the port of Iquique in Chile (around 59,000 tons of garments per year), where they are resold to other Latin American countries.

But faced with the growth in the amount of low-cost clothing produced in Asia for brands capable of offering about fifty new collections a year, the circuit is congested and textile waste is piling up exponentially.

Over 39 thousand tons of waste are thus stored in illegal landfills in Alto Hospicio, a town on the outskirts of Iquique.

According to a 2019 United Nations study, global apparel production, which doubled between 2000 and 2014, is “Responsible for 20% of the total waste of water in the world”. According to the report, the production of clothing and footwear produces 8% of greenhouse gases and, at the end of the supply chain, “Every second an amount of textiles equivalent to a garbage truck is buried or burned”.

A large number of garments are also buried in the Alto Hospicio to prevent fires which can be highly toxic due to the synthetic composition of many fabrics. But if they are buried underground or left outdoors, their chemical decomposition, which can take decades, pollutes the air and groundwater.

It’s crazy, if watch the video it looks like a dystopian movie.

If real change is to happen, more and more people need to start taking a proactive approach and acting on their moral values. Small lifestyle changes can change the world. Buying used clothes or looking for ethical and sustainable solutions (there are countless Italian brands on the net), not following fashion at all costs, recycling and not throwing away, perhaps by donating, are small gestures that can really change the world.

It’s time to put the brakes on fast fashion and put the planet first.

Source: Il Blog di Beppe Grillo by

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