The Textile Industry and Its Environmental Problems

The textile industry is one of the most polluting industries and the most prominent for its relationship with labor exploitation, being the second most polluting industry.
The Textile Industry

The textile industry is one of the most polluting industries and is the second most polluting industry in terms of labour exploitation.

This involves a long and complex chain of production and consumption of supplies ranging from raw material extraction, textile manufacturing, dyeing to garment construction.

Normally, when we think of pollution we never imagine that the clothes we wear every day are part of this problem.

However, the overall impact this industry has on our planet is of great concern and a problem that needs to be urgently addressed, as thousands of toxic chemicals are used, it requires high water and energy consumption, generates large amounts of waste and spills, and many factories keep employees in squalid conditions.

The Textile Industry


"Unsustainable mass consumerism induced by fast fashion is another problem that needs to be addressed."

The current concept of fashion is known as "fast-fashion" in the textile industry, consisting of mass production and consumption of clothing in a short time.

All this boils down to low quality clothing, synthetic materials and a low average lifespan.

Large amounts of fossil energy and virgin raw materials are extracted to produce garments that are often only used for a short time, and then the materials are mainly sent to landfill or incinerated.

To note: the textile industry uses 97% of its raw materials from virgin sources and only 2% from recycled sources and of the 53 million tonnes of fibre produced for the industry, 12% is wasted during garment production.

Textile fibres used in fashion are mainly cotton, polyester and nylon. These fibres can be natural (cotton) or synthetic (polyester and nylon), but their mass production for garment manufacturing generates various environmental impacts.

 Cotton is the third most water-intensive crop.

To get an idea, producing one kilogram of cotton requires between 5,000 and 10,000 litres of water, depending on the technique.

It also consumes 10% of all agricultural chemicals and 25% of insecticides.



Did you know?

One of the major disasters resulting from cotton cultivation was the drying of the cotton plant. Aral Sealocated between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.The Textile Industry

This disaster was caused by the diversion of the channels of the two main rivers that flowed into this "inland sea" to supply the large irrigated crops in the area.


Synthetic Fibers 

On the other hand, synthetic fibers such as polyester and nylon are produced by chemical compounds, mainly derived from petroleum.

The impact of these fibres is enormous, as they are petroleum derivatives and emit a large amount of greenhouse gases in their production .

Moreover, they are non-biodegradable compounds, and washing these garments causes them to shed their fibres, generating microplastics that end up in the sea.

Slow fashion is a healthy alternative to conventional fashion

Sustainable fashion is linked to the concept of fair trade. By promoting a new approach to textile business based on respect for the environment and the well-being of societies, it generates, in turn, a new form of moderate, fair and well-paid consumption and a generator of quality products.

This movement defends the concept of sustainable fashion, based on clothing with a low environmental impact. To do so, they use natural organic fibres such as cotton, hemp, linen, bamboo, silk or even recycled fibres.

More and more citizens are becoming aware of the need to acquire habits that, multiplied by sustainable networks, have a direct positive impact on the stability of the planet.

This is why we should make more responsible purchases, knowing where the product we are going to buy comes from and how it is produced and, as far as possible, avoiding unnecessary purchases.