Environmental Impact of the Garments Industry: Fashion Lead to Hazardous Waste


Dr. Shahriar Hossain

It was Friday evening, a group of teen boys and girls leaf through glossy fashion magazines at a Gulshan bookshop. Shopping bags overflowing with new purchases lay at their feet as they talk excitedly about what’s in style to wear this winter. Far away in Bangladesh, a young lady proudly wears a T-shirt imprinted with the logo of a French fashion house while shopping at the local mall for pants that will fit her slim finger. Although apparently disparate, these two scenes are connected through the surprising life cycle of garments.

How does a T-shirt originally sold in a European shopping mall to promote a fashion designer end up being worn by a Bangladeshi teen? Globalization, consumerism and recycling all converge to connect these scenes. Globalization has made it possible to produce garments at increasingly lower prices, prices so low that many consumers consider this item of clothing to be disposable. Some call it “first fashion,” the clothing equivalent of fast food.

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