Did you know that the global textile industry is worth 2.6 trillion dollars? (Breyer 1) My speech today is about the clothes we wear and why should stop buying garb that we do not put on. Using information that I collected from the Greenpeace website and Treehugger.com, I have found out that the clothing we wear is worth trillions of dollars, is manufactured using hazardous chemicals and that the process of making this attire emits more than three billion tons of soot each year (Breyer 1; Greenpeace exposes hazardous chemicals in high street fashion 1). Even more shocking is the fact that 2.4 billion of the clothes we buy are thrown away before ever being worn (Gannon 1). We should all stop buying apparel we do not wear because many of the clothes are toxic and they cause harm to the environment and us
Harm Done By Our Clothes
We all like to buy clothes. Having many clothes is a luxury and to some of us a necessity. We need different attire for different occasions, seasons, days and even times of day. Additionally, having nice clothes can make a person feel confident, especially if they think they look good and attractive. As much as we need to buy many clothes, we also need to be careful about how we go about our shopping. Some statistics show that American households spend an average of one thousand seven hundred dollars on clothing each year (Breyer 1). Most people would like to think that this problem lies mostly with women but they are wrong. Both genders are guilty of overspending on clothing and accessories (Breyer 1).
Proponents of the current situation in the textile industry have made many arguments pushing for the sector to remain unchanged. One thing they claim is that the industry creates a lot of revenue for the east. China produces millions of tons of textiles each year and the sector employs hundreds of thousands of people in the country (Breyer 1). Other countries in Asia employ people in the clothing industry but not to an extent as large as China’s. The fashion industry also pumps money into the American economy, with the New York Fashion week generating revenue of up to $20 million for the city (Breyer 2).
Despite all the benefits, the clothing industry is currently causing much more harm than good. Greenpeace argues that the clothes we buy are contaminated with toxic chemicals that inhibit the hormones in our body and even cause cancer in some cases (Greenpeace exposes hazardous chemicals in high street fashion 1). These chemicals were found in clothes that twenty top fashion brands had produced. The harm extends to the environment with dyes from these industries polluting rivers in China and other countries in Asia. Each year, these companies dump millions of tons of fabric that they deemed useless because of bad dye combinations and for every ton that these companies manufacture, they use two hundred tons of water (Breyer).
Most of us
go up in arms when we find out that the food we eat causes cancer. The campaign
against cigarettes is testament to this. So why are we not outraged against the
damage done to us by our clothes? Ever since I found out about this, I have
started to get rid of the unworn clothes that I own. I understand that we are
all afraid of losing our statuses and identities if we do not dress fashionably
but if we are going to stop this trend, we must act now.
As much as we need to buy new clothes regularly, we need to
be careful so that our shopping activity does not harm the environment and us
anymore. We all need to take action before the damage done is irreversible. I
urge you all to give away the clothes that you do not care, and limit
yourselves to buying only what you need. If you all do something about this
problem, I am sure we will begin to see the desirable changes happening soon.
Breyer, Melissa. “25 shocking fashion industry statistics.” treehugger. MNN Holdings, 11 Sept. 2011. Web. 01 Nov. 2013. <http://www.treehugger.com/sustainable-fashion/25-shocking-fashion-industry-statistics.html>
Gannon, Emma. “Why we should stop buying clothes we don’t need.” HuffingtonPost. AOL (UK), 01 Mar. 2012. Web. 01 Nov. 2013. <http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/emma-gannon/why-we-should-stop-buying-clothes-we-dont-need_b_1183014.html>
“Greenpeace exposes hazardous chemicals in high street fashion.” Greenpeace. Greenpeace, 20 Nov. 2012. Web. 01 Nov. 2013. <http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/press/releases/Greenpeace-exposes-hazardous-chemicals-in-high-street-fashion/>