An Environmental Disaster Caused by Fast Fashion and the Accumulation of Used Clothes ICYMI


The dark side of the world’s fashion addiction involves much of our old clothes, being donated to charities, which end up discarded in textile mountains in West Africa, and the waste is creating an environmental disaster.

ABC News Australia reports that goodwill gestures are helping to cause an environmental catastrophe in Ghana, West Africa.

When charities in Australia, Great Britain or the United States can’t sell donated clothing, tons of used clothing ends up exported to countries like Ghana, in West Africa where cargo ship after cargo ship docks every week with bales from Europe, the United States, China and Australia.

Fast Fashion

Fast fashion is the term used to describe clothing designs that move quickly from the catwalk to stores to take advantage of trends. The collections are often based on styles presented at Fashion Week runway shows or worn by celebrities.

When used clothes arrive in Ghana, the items taken to the bustling Kantamanto markets in the capital Accra. Next, the items are transported to villages and towns across the country. The people of Ghana call the items ‘Dead White Man’s Clothes’.

When an importer accepts a bale of clothing, the payment is made up front, and the quality of the bale is unknown. Cheap, fast fashion clothing around the world has declined in quality, which makes things worse and worse in Ghana.

About 60 percent of imported fashion items are reused and resold, but 40 percent of items are rubbish, creating an environmental catastrophe Ghana. Fetid clothes are set on fire, filling skies with acrid smoke.

According to ABC News Australia, Emmanuel Ajaab imports used clothes from Australia but he despairs at the poor quality of the clothes that arrive. From a bale of about 200 garments, he finds only seven items that he can resell at a good price.

Besides air pollution from burning used clothing, some discarded items are swept away in monsoonal rains, and choke city’s waterways, and cover beaches with wasted textiles.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), formerly the Australian Broadcasting Commission, is Australia’s national broadcaster, is principally funded by the direct grants from the Australian Government, and is administered by a board appointed by the government of the Australia.


ABC Australia Foreign Correspondent | Dead white man’s clothes



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