Quick trend within the U.S. is fueling an environmental catastrophe in Ghana

Ghana — The rise of quick trend in the USA is supporting an invisible “salvage market” that sees American garments waste shipped to faraway international locations the place it fills marketplaces, clogs up seashores and overwhelms dumps.

There was a five-fold enhance within the quantity of clothes Individuals purchase over the past three many years, however every merchandise is worn solely a median of seven occasions, based on studies. This has resulted in additional discarded clothes than ever.

Many Individuals donate their used clothes to charities when they’re completed with it, beneath the idea that it will likely be reused. However with the growing quantity of things being discarded, and the poorer high quality of quick trend, much less and fewer may be resold, and tens of millions of clothes are put into bales and shipped overseas yearly.

“No matter they can’t promote of their thrift shops will get offered off into the ‘salvage’ market,” Liz Ricketts, co-founder and director of the OR Basis, instructed CBS Information.

“It is a lengthy and sophisticated provide chain that’s fully invisible to not solely the common particular person, however even to individuals collaborating,” Rickets mentioned.

“The U.S. is the most important wrongdoer”

At Ghana’s Kamanto market, round 15 million gadgets of used clothes from Western international locations arrive each week. The whole inhabitants of Ghana is barely 30 million.

“The entire quick trend mannequin is constructed round… constructing low-cost clothes, and the U.S. is the most important wrongdoer, exporting extra second-hand clothes than some other nation on earth,” Samuel Oteng, a dressmaker and mission supervisor on the Or Basis, instructed CBS Information.

Vans offload bales of textiles — referred to as Obroni Wawu, or “Useless White Man’s Garments” — on the market, which is a seven-acre maze of over 5,000 stalls. The bales are bought by market merchants — who have no idea forward of time what’s in them — for between 25 and 500 {dollars} every They then clear, tailor, and re-dye what they’ll of the clothes to offer it new life.


CBS Information

However Oteng says upcycling is changing into more and more tough due to the poor high quality of quick trend clothes.

“Earlier than they used to have good high quality garments, however now there’s a number of trash,” he mentioned. “I really feel like waste is being constructed into the mannequin of quick trend: Overproduce, overproduce, overproduce. Ultimately, individuals put on garments for similar to two weeks, after which simply discard them. The waste does not find yourself in America. Finally it finally ends up right here in Kantamanto.”

“Don’t cover beneath the guise of donations”

The upcycling work of merchants at Katamanto just isn’t sufficient to cut back the glut of clothes created by America’s dependancy to quick trend. It’s estimated that 40 p.c of all of the clothes bales despatched to Ghana find yourself in landfills.

And a few of the unsold clothes washes out to seashores when it rains, creating huge tangled webs referred to as “tentacles” within the sand.


CBS Information

The director of waste administration for the Accra Metropolitan Meeting, Solomon Noi, delivered a message to the U.S.: “Cope with it.”

“Don’t cover beneath the guise of donations of secondhand clothes, and then you definitely ship them over to us simply to trigger issues to us,” he mentioned.

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