When a reservoir such as a lake, river, ocean, etc. becomes toxic as a result of pollution by mankind or the environment, it is considered as water pollution. It can be caused by substances such as chemicals or microorganisms. The effects of water pollution are far-reaching. According to UNICEF and the World Health Organization, one in three people worldwide does not have access to safe drinking water, and the United Nations reports that about 1.5 million people die each year from contaminated drinking water.
Textile industry and water pollution
Textile dyeing is the second-largest polluter of water worldwide and the fashion industry produces 20 percent of the world’s wastewater. When it comes to manufacturing clothing and household products, manufacturers use water extensively and the resulting wastewater negatively affects the environment. Affects ecology, animals, human food discipline and soil/groundwater pollution.
According to a 2019 report, the World Bank stated that “some studies have shown that the textile industry is responsible for about one-fifth of global water pollution. Water use is a big part of the textile industry, it is used for scrolling, bleaching and dyeing processes. The pollution aspect comes mainly from wastewater. If this contaminated water is not treated before being given to the reservoir, this wastewater can reduce the concentration of oxygen, which can be harmful to both aquatic life and the aquatic ecosystem in general.
Cotton is a major raw material in the textile industry. It takes about 20,000 liters of water to produce a cotton T-shirt and jeans. Conventional cotton production also includes the high use of fertilizers and pesticides, which can contaminate the surrounding water bodies. More pesticides are used in cotton production than in any other crop. When numerous textile products are made with cotton, the effect is great.
Cotton production is responsible for 2.8% of the annual global water consumption and is dependent on pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers used in its production. Even then, the global pesticide use rate is 25% of which 10% is used for cotton cultivation. As a result, people involved in cotton production are at greater risk of exposure to harmful chemicals. Meanwhile, others may also be at risk of exposure due to the flow of pesticides.
The impact of the textile industry on world water can be devastating, but the good news is that there are ways to reduce its damage to the environment. Several large businesses are working to reduce the harmful effects of the environment.
Impact of water pollution on human life
We have discussed the environmental costs of water pollution, but what about its impact on human life? Sadly, about 3,575,000 people die each year from waterborne diseases. Most of these numbers are children. Contaminated water in the textile industry may contain formaldehyde, chlorine and heavy metallic chemicals and when contaminated water is used for drinking and other purposes, people get infected with various diseases.
However, many of the world’s leading companies, including Adidas, H&M, and Nike, are now working to reduce the effects of toxic substances on waterways.
How can ordinary people reduce water pollution?
As a consumer, a powerful way to prevent this is through your shopping habits. Fashionable and cheap textiles may be amusing but they are not eco-friendly. These products are usually made using less expensive toxic chemicals that will contaminate the water in the pond after you wash them at home.
Try to buy durable and high-quality products produced by ethical organizations that work to reduce water pollution. Contact them and see if they are treating their wastewater. Before you buy the tags of the textile products you see in the stores, take a quick look to see if the product is made environmentally friendly. If not, do a Google search to find a more durable similar fabric product?
We can prevent water pollution from the textile industry if we want. It is important to note, however, that we are currently working to reduce this at both the individual and corporate levels.
Some ways to reduce water pollution
It is still not possible to separate fabrics made from blended fibers like polyester and cotton, cotton fabrics need to be worked on to bring them back to raw materials. Environmental pollution can be greatly reduced by preventing reckless use of textile products and recycling water.
Untreated water is a huge source of pollution. Fortunately, contaminated water can be purified and reused using one of four separate methods, biological, physical, and chemical. But to do that, all the organizations in the world have to come forward with consensus. There are also some ways to prevent water pollution
- By using naturalresources
Textiles made from natural sources such as plants or animals can have less impact on the environment. In addition to raw materials, dyeing products that are invented from plants, minerals and insects should be used. If natural is not affordable, look for a dye that will have less impact on the environment.
Some dyes that are safe for the environment are natural, biodegradable, azo-free coolants and fiber reactive dyes. An organization called Keycolor is making eco-friendly dyes in Bangladesh which is good news for us.
- Using sustainable materials for the production of textile products
Sustainable is a material that can be reproduced in a short time and helps prevent environmental pollution. Examples of sustainable sources include fiber such as hemp, bamboo, organic yarn, alpaca wool and soy silk. These use very small amounts of pesticides and dyes.
- By making reusable products
Clothes, linen, towels, etc. can be reused through recycling. Re-dyeing and restructuring can reduce the overall need for fabric and textile production, which ultimately reduces the impact of the industry on the environment.
Some Bangladeshi organizations that are working to prevent water pollution:
- Apex & Sinha Textile Group.
- KDS Textile Mills Ltd.
- Alima Textiles Ltd.
- Alkaram Textile Mills Ltd.
- Deco Washing Ltd.
- Unilence Home Textile Ltd.
The government of Bangladesh and many industrial organizations are working to prevent water pollution. According to BTMA, it is possible to reduce the amount of water pollution by about 6% by 2030.