Environmental disaster in Bangladesh: a river of clothes

Happiness Project, launched by Giuseppe Bertuccio D'Angelo, shows us the situation of the rivers in Bangladesh, where waters and fish are suffocated by fast fashion

In the heart of Dhaka, Bangladesh, a tributary of the Buriganga River has turned into a “river of clothes,” choked by waste from the textile industries. Once clear waters are now a toxic sludge, devastating local flora and fauna and forcing residents to live with severe health issues.

This environmental disaster is a direct result of the fast fashion industry, which prioritizes rapid and low-cost garment production. This is the true cost of our fashion on the environment, and it’s a stark reminder that we must change our consumption habits to hope for a healthier and more sustainable world.

Shocking video highlights environmental disaster

A disturbing video published by Project Happiness on Instagram showcases this environmental catastrophe. It highlights the proliferation of factories in countries like Bangladesh, where environmental regulations are often inadequate and poorly enforced. The footage confirms what another creator, @davud, had previously shown and which we reported on in recent months.

Only 30% of waste is properly disposed

But how is this possible? Every day, Dhaka dumps about 4,500 tons of solid waste, of which only 30% is disposed of correctly, rendering the water unfit for humans and animals. Fast fashion has caused damage for decades without consumers being fully aware.

The damage is multifaceted: energy consumption, the release of microfibers, and harmful chemicals in wastewater are all threats to humans and wildlife. Additionally, textile and plastic pollution increases the risk of severe flooding. The clothing industry, in terms of CO2 emissions, surpasses the pollution of the aviation and maritime industries combined.

The impact of fast fashion

In 2023, 73% of the clothes imported to the United States came from Asia, with China, Vietnam, and Bangladesh leading the way. Of Bangladesh’s $52 billion in exports in 2021, $44 billion were garments. Our insatiable demand for cheap fashion is destroying the planet.

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