The Role of the Textile Industry in Global Warming and Ways to Prevent It

Last Updated on 10/12/2020

Textile Industry and Global Warming

Utso Das Shuvro
B.Sc. in Textile Engineering
Port City International University


In recent years, the amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the world has been increasing at a high rate. At present these gases are the main cause of the increase in the temperature of the atmosphere. A study found that temperatures increased by about 7% in 2010 (about 500 million metric tons were released). The three countries most responsible for this are China, the United States, and India. Most greenhouse gases are caused by the use of fuels, manufactured goods, wood, roads, etc.

The Role of the Textile Industry in Global Warming

We know that climate change is an important issue in the 21st century. It affects everything we breathe, the water we drink, and everything from growing up to eating.

global warming by textile industry

In the textile industry, about 2 thousand different chemicals are used to transfer everything from dyes to agents. The use of chemicals in the textile industry has greatly increased the water pollution that is currently causing the water crisis and ultimately affecting the long-term environment. Contaminated water, pigments, de-fumer, bleach, and other powerful chemicals pollute the environment, increase heat and ultimately cause global warming. Let’s discuss:

Textile Waste: An industry report states that more than 1 million tons of textile waste are dumped every year, of which 50 percent is recyclable. These are mainly made by industrial firms. Landfill space is required for this textile waste. Synthetic fiber textile waste does not decompose quickly. When woolen garments rot, they produce methane, which causes global warming.

Wet Treatment on Textiles: Wet treatment of textiles such as designing, pre-washing, mercerizing, dyeing, printing, washing etc. uses a lot of chemicals. After removing the sizing agents from the fabric, they contaminate the water.

Pre-washing is mainly done on finished textiles. Some fibers are bleached before dyeing to make the process more efficient. The chlorine organo-chlorine compounds used during this process can be dangerous.

The dyeing process contains lots of chemicals and heavy metals that affect the water. Textiles consume large amounts of fossil fuels during wet treatment. Fossil fuels contain large amounts of carbon and react with oxygen to form carbon dioxide, which increases global warming.

Ways to Prevent Global Warming

Textile Recyclables: Recovering and recycling textile materials reduces the need for landfill sites, reduces decomposition problems, and ultimately reduces global warming. The collected textile can be sent to the wiping and flocking industry so that the fibers can be recovered and reused. Clothing made with both natural and man-made fibers is recyclable.

Treatment of Textile Waste: It is important to fix chemically treated wastewater. High chlorinated ingredients should be avoided when coloring. When bleaching, alternative agents that are less dangerous can be used.

Organic use: Due to global warming and environmental risks, organic cotton and its products are becoming inseparable to both producers and end consumers. The garment industry around the world is now planning to use 100% organic yarn or blends of organic cotton with conventional cotton for their products. Organic soils reduce global warming gases in the atmosphere by trapping carbon dioxide and converting it into soil matter. Organic farming is a powerful tool to reduce global warming.

Use of Natural Fiber: There are many natural fibers available as gifts of nature for mankind. Concerns about global warming have increased interest in the use of natural fibers. Uses natural fibers, is easily recyclable, enables less corrosion, and is environmentally friendly.

Global Warming and the Garment Industry in Bangladesh

There is no doubt that the garment industry is a blessing for Bangladesh. In 2019, about 75% of foreign exchange was from this sector. Meanwhile, the garment industry contributes 45% of all industrial employment in the country and contributes 5% to the total national income. At present, there are about 1500 textile industries in Bangladesh where various chemicals are required for dyeing, water for washing which is having a huge impact on global warming. Since most of the country’s income comes from this sector, we must take the necessary steps to maintain it.

From developing countries to industrialized countries, global warming affects everyone. According to environmentalists and jurists, global warming is a real deal and human activity is the cause. The time has come to adopt environmentally friendly products and activities to reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases and save the world.

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