Diaspora, Africa – (African Boulevard News) – European countries have been dumping up to 90% of their used clothes in Africa and Asia, according to a recent report by the European Environment Agency (EEA). The increasing textile waste has a devastating impact on these regions’ environment and climate change, ranking it as the fourth most polluting sector globally.
The report highlights that the excessive dumping by European countries in Africa and Asia is due to various reasons, including a lack of recycling facilities, cheaper labor costs, and the rising demand for affordable clothing in these regions. As a result, African countries end up receiving an enormous amount of second-hand clothes, some of which are unfit for use and eventually disposed of, causing environmental damage.
The practice of dumping used clothes also impacts local textile industries and economies, as the influx of cheap clothing creates unfair competition for local manufacturers. Consequently, the local textile industries in countries like Kenya, Rwanda, and Tanzania who rely on the export of textile products are struggling to survive.
According to Aisha Ali, co-founder of the East Africa-based sustainable fashion label, ‘Suave Kenya,’ “The export of second-hand clothes results in a loss of economic value and jobs within our continent. It discourages the development of a local textile industry that could create sustainable jobs for millions of people.”
In response to this issue, several African countries have taken initiatives to ban the importation of second-hand clothing. In 2016, East African countries (Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda) announced plans to impose a levy on importers of second-hand clothes. However, the move was opposed by the United States, which threatened to withdraw trade benefits from the region.
In conclusion, the report by the EEA emphasizes the critical need for a sustainable solution to textile waste management, reducing the impact on the environment and local economies. As Ali states, “It’s time that we reimagine our fashion system, embracing local solutions that prioritize people and the planet over profits.” Therefore, it is imperative that the global community tackles the issue of textile waste and promotes sustainable fashion practices.