Unimaginable pollution: Mountains of unused clothes pile up in the Atacama Desert

in a Atacama desert over there Landfill Clothing. Yes, a place where there is – at least – 100,000 tons of ready-to-wear. Many of them have a tag and it has never been used. How is this place? How did the clothes end up there?

The coastal city of Iquique in northern Chile is a region with tax advantages, so imported products do not pay taxes. In addition, it is the gateway to the Atacama Desert. It is a city surrounded by sand hills that contrast with skyscrapers and wide beaches and 25 km away it has an unbelievable landfill.

Read also: SusTNtables: What the Fashion Industry Is Doing to Contribute to Positive Change in the Environment

To reach this massive Textile Cemetery You have to go to Alto Hospicio, a blazing city with some working factories. We went there. The sun is pulsing and there is no humidity.

“Here turn right and don’t score because it’s dangerous, there’s the shot,” warns Franklin Zepeda, who He denounced this landfill for 10 years This leads us through dirt streets. By “grabbing” he refers to a vast plot of land with very precarious squares. On either side of this – and the neighborhood – are Chile flags, playing dogs and a strange warehouse. who live there? Most of them are Venezuelans, many even came on foot.

Crossing the Squares There are some white lines that serve as road signs in the middle of the mountain. “They changed it recently so people don’t get to the landfill,” says Franklin, who has lost count of how many times he’s actually gone. We drove a few kilometers in the desert until suddenly we came to an open gate. We go ahead and find first A large mountain of clothing, sports shoes and all kinds of accessories.

It’s twelve noon and the sun is setting hard, you have to stare not to be dazzled, but nevertheless it is impossible not to see the mountains and the mountains of clothing. The first thing that arises is walking, looking, observing what is there. There is everything. All international brands. Jeans without a single hole, new sneakers, I even found clothes at a fixed price, unreleased there, in the dry desert wind.

Suddenly it was five in the evening, the sun was starting to set and four people appeared in the building. They say they are Venezuelans who came on foot for a month. They are two pairs. One of them has children in Colombia, is waiting to meet again and another says he is 19 years old, he has arrived and he has nothing. They are looking for a coat, socks and shoes. The jokes are made with amazing sense of humor. They try on jackets, wondering how they fit. “Look, with this I’m Daddy Yankee,” he jokes as he continues looking at the mountain of clothes.

Soon it was getting dark, and with three bags full of clothes, they began to turn away. The youngest unsuccessfully searches for the right pair of sneakers and joins the group.

Without people, only those thousands of clothes remain. Between natural hills and human hills. Trash is a human invention, and does not exist as a concept in nature. Nothing is lost.

What about the clothes?

On the one hand, The fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world. Some facts: to make one jean you need 7500 liters of water; 85% of textiles produced end up in landfills or are incinerated; And every second, the equivalent of a truckload of clothes is burned.

The concept that was previously “fast fashion”, fast fashion that produces new seasons in record time and at a very low price, is now “trash fashion”, that is: trash fashion. Clothes are often discarded before they are sold.

On the other hand, Chile imports containers of new and used clothing that Europe and the United States do not want or refuse. And try to sell those clothes and those that aren’t: they are being discarded.

Influences produced by the fashion industry

There is environmental impact Obvious: Pollution of water layers and toxic smoke through combustion and the emission of plastic particles from clothing into the environment often reach the sea.

There is also social impact: Thousands of wasted clothes that can keep people from catching a cold, have better shoes and take advantage of those resources that the system itself leaves aside. This did not happen. Trucks carrying clothes illegally are dumped at night.

Extended responsibility of the apparel producer

This new law is in Chile and decides it Producers must take responsibility for the waste generated. They are not consumers. The law is in the process of being implemented, and it is expected that by 2023 there will be full implementation and that the categories of products covered by the law will be expanded.

clothes recycling

Due to the amount of clothing wasted, Franklin Zepeda founded Ecofibra, a Insulation system for homes using discarded textiles and prevent them from ending up in landfills.

How it works? The clothes are shredded and through a special treatment that makes them insulating and fireproof. In this sense, technological innovation is necessary to reduce the environmental impact of many industries.

What can I do as a clothing consumer?

As consumers we can try to avoid the temptations of marketing, consume less Local producers are consumed.

We can also choose textiles that do not consume a lot of water. In fact, there are already great brands that feature it on their labels.

Another alternative is to buy clothes that have already been used so that they will last in the ring. Also sell or donate undamaged clothing before it spoils.

On the part of the production companies, the ideal is that there are no seasons for new clothes every two weeks and What is produced lasts longer. In addition to using less polluting manufacturing processes.

Disclaimer: This article was created from the feed and has not been edited by our team.

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