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Fast Fashion and its Environmental and Social Impacts

The fashion industry is a huge one – it ranks among the biggest and the most expansive industries. It exemplifies the cut-throat pace of events in the world today; the rate at which clothing trends change is incredible.

As fascinating as this may seem, its effects on the environment are damning. The only industry that is ahead of the fashion industry in terms of global pollution is the oil industry. A recent study by Betway revealed that above 1 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions are produced by textile production annually. This high-level risk posed to the environment by the fashion industry has led to raving calls for a change in the status quo.

Some of the environmental hazards of the fashion industry are as follow:

Greenhouse Effect

Global warming is one of the biggest issues facing mankind today. Greenhouse gases are some of the leading causes of global warming. Yearly high carbon emissions from heavy production and transportation of clothing materials as well as the production of synthetic polymers contribute significantly to increasing world temperature.

 Fast Fashion and its Environmental and Social Impacts

Water Depletion and Pollution

About 3000 liters of water are needed for the production of a single cotton shirt; a representation of the huge water needs in the fashion industry. To realize that cotton is typically grown in areas with water scarcity makes it unbelievable. Up to 200 tons of water are needed for just a ton of dyed fabric. Besides the heavy water usage, many factories dump untreated waters into water bodies hence causing serious pollution.


A staggeringly high percentage of clothes end up in a landfill annually. These materials e.g. polyester can take up to two centuries before decomposing. Nylon needs at least 30 years. When they eventually begin to decompose, microplastics are released into the soil.

Fossil Fuels

Non-renewable resources such as Fossil fuels are used in the fashion industry. These non-renewable resources often end up polluting water bodies and the atmosphere. They contribute to climate change and are not sustainable.

Huge brands such as Nike and Adidas are taking huge steps towards green business, as revealed by Betway’s research. See infographic below;