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World Water Day 2021: How are we valuing water?

The month of March is significant for the fashion industry that reminds us of a common but overlooked thing—the importance of water. World Water Day is celebrated on March 22 every year since 1993 initiated by The United Nation, aims to raise awareness about the reality that so many people are living without access to safe water.

Figure: The United Nation, aims to raise awareness about the reality that so many people are living without access to safe water.

This year the theme of the day is ‘valuing water’. Textile industry contributes to world water pollution immensely that stresses the development of systems to reduce water pollution by the industry.

In Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 6, the United Nations aims to ensure clean water and sanitation for all by 2030. Water quality is to be improved by, among other things, ending pollution from hazardous chemicals.

Globally, 2.2 billion people lack continuous access to safe drinking water and 4.2 billion people lack access to clean toilets whose wastewater can be treated and disposed of safely. According to the 2020 UN World Water Report, the situation will worsen as a result of the climate crisis, and even more, regions will suffer from water stress.

Textile dyeing is the second-largest polluter of water globally. The fashion industry produces 20 percent of global wastewater, which negatively affects the environment, impacting ecosystems, animal and human food chains and soil/groundwater contamination.

Many world leaders, manufacturers and brands have come out to solve the problem, though it is not possible to avoid the pollution fully. However, they are taking many initiatives to eradicate water pollution for sustainable development.

Manufacturers using some dyes that are safe for the environment are natural, biodegradable, azo-free coolants and fiber reactive dyes. Many renowned organizations are making eco-friendly dyes in Bangladesh which is good news for us.

In Bangladesh, many textile and apparel makers have installed Effluent Treatment Plant or ETP–one type of wastewater treatment method which is particularly designed to purify industrial wastewater for its reuse. It aims to release safe water to the environment from the harmful effect caused by the waste.

According to research, there are some barriers here, and the dominant barriers to ETP installation are at the purchase stage, rather than the construction stage: ETPs are unavailable in local markets and the import tax is high.

The research recommends that institutional arrangements are required to improve this situation; this could include establishing a subsidy scheme that would encourage voluntary construction of central ETPs.

It also suggests putting external pressure for Bangladesh to change the situation and the external bodies exerting such pressure should have objective measures by which to judge compliance; the quality of river water might be the only reliable measure of environmental compliance in this situation.

Clothes, linen, towels, etc. are being reused through recycling in many factories. 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.

Sad but true that many brands and manufacturers have low willingness to meet environmental compliance requirements and inadequate monitoring and enforcement by government authorities.

Like, brands are not paying ethically which leading the manufacturers to remain unaware and inactive to promote eco-friendly manufacturing process. However, all should be aware of the issue for long-term success in their business, also for a sustainable world.

If anyone has any feedback or input regarding the published news, please contact: info@textiletoday.com.bd

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