Fast fashion in U.S. is fueling environmental disaster in Ghana

Ghana — The rise of quick trend in america is supporting an invisible “salvage market” that sees American garments waste shipped to faraway nations the place it fills marketplaces, clogs up seashores and overwhelms dumps.

There was a five-fold enhance within the quantity of clothes People purchase over the past three many years, however every merchandise is worn solely a mean of seven occasions, based on reviews. This has resulted in additional discarded clothes than ever.

Many People donate their used clothes to charities when they’re completed with it, underneath the idea that it is going to be reused. However with the rising quantity of things being discarded, and the poorer high quality of quick trend, much less and fewer will be resold, and thousands and thousands of clothes are put into bales and shipped overseas yearly.

“No matter they can not promote of their thrift shops will get offered off into the ‘salvage’ market,” Liz Ricketts, co-founder and director of the OR Basis, advised CBS Information.

“It is a lengthy and complex provide chain that’s utterly invisible to not solely the common particular person, however even to folks taking part,” Rickets stated.

“The U.S. is the largest wrongdoer”

At Ghana’s Kamanto market, round 15 million gadgets of used clothes from Western nations arrive each week. All the inhabitants of Ghana is just 30 million.

“The entire quick trend mannequin is constructed round… constructing low cost clothes, and the U.S. is the largest wrongdoer, exporting extra second-hand clothes than every other nation on earth,” Samuel Oteng, a dressmaker and undertaking supervisor on the Or Basis, advised CBS Information.

Vehicles offload bales of textiles — referred to as Obroni Wawu, or “Useless White Man’s Garments” — on the market, which is a seven-acre maze of over 5,000 stalls. The bales are bought by market merchants — who have no idea forward of time what’s in them — for between 25 and 500 {dollars} every They then clear, tailor, and re-dye what they’ll of the clothes to provide it new life.

/ Credit score: CBS Information

However Oteng says upcycling is changing into more and more troublesome due to the poor high quality of quick trend clothes.

“Earlier than they used to have good high quality garments, however now there’s loads of trash,” he stated. “I really feel like waste is being constructed into the mannequin of quick trend: Overproduce, overproduce, overproduce. Ultimately, folks put on garments for similar to two weeks, after which simply discard them. The waste would not find yourself in America. Finally it finally ends up right here in Kantamanto.”

“Don’t conceal underneath the guise of donations”

The upcycling work of merchants at Katamanto isn’t sufficient to cut back the glut of clothes created by America’s habit to quick trend. It’s estimated that 40 p.c of all of the clothes bales despatched to Ghana find yourself in landfills.

And among the unsold clothes washes out to seashores when it rains, creating large tangled webs referred to as “tentacles” within the sand.

 / Credit: CBS News

/ Credit score: CBS Information

The director of waste administration for the Accra Metropolitan Meeting, Solomon Noi, delivered a message to the U.S.: “Take care of it.”

“Don’t conceal underneath the guise of donations of secondhand clothes, and then you definitely ship them over to us simply to trigger issues to us,” he stated.

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