Textile production industry is one of the oldest as well as most technologically complex sectors whose fundamental strength emanates from its virile production base of the vast variety of fibers/yarns. These industries make use of natural fibers such as cotton, silk, wool, and jute. Additionally, synthetic or humanmade fibers such as viscose, acrylic, nylon, and polyester are utilized in the industry. Following the escalating demand for their products, textile mills have significantly increased worldwide. However, despite the many benefits derived from these industries such as fashionable apparels, a creation of employment and contribution to a countrys growth of an economy, they pose core environmental hazards. Textile industries are a significant threat to the environment due to the wastewater and gases that are harmful to the environment. Some of the negative environmental impacts of textile industries are as discussed below.
Textile industries require a considerable proportion of water and chemicals which when released to the environment are hazardous. Water pollution is a chief problem experienced as a result of textile industries. It is projected that seventeen to twenty percent of water pollution comes from textile industries following the discharge of untreated effluent emanating from the utilization of toxic chemicals into rivers, lakes, and streams. Also, it has been established that most of these substances cannot be easily removed yet are incredibly fatal for both human or animals consumption. The effluent adversely affects aquaculture via drastically reducing the oxygen concentration in the water following the presence of hydrosulfides and blockage of the sunlight from penetrating through the water body. Moreover, toxicity contained in the water causes deteriorating health status, chronic maladies and to a more significant extent death to the population that depends on it for survival. Water is a fundamental requirement for life to thrive be it for human beings, animals or plants. Therefore, water pollution bears detrimental impacts in society. However, it is notable that a massive number of textile making processes are undertaken in textile industries contribute a great deal to water pollution despite the current efforts to implement measures preventing disposal of wastewater into water bodies. Such processing activities leading to water pollution encompass bleaching, dyeing, slashing/sizing, scouring, heat setting and printing.
Air pollution is another negative impact experienced from textile industries especially in factories whose chimneys release toxic gases to the environment directly. Gases from these industries are as a result of activities such as resin finishing and drying operations, dyeing, fabric preparations and wastewater treatment processes, for example, drying ovens emit hydrocarbons in the environment. An estimated forty percent of colorants used globally consists of organically bound chlorine known as the carcinogen. Inhalation or absorption of this contaminated gases from textile industries leads to allergic reactions. It also impairs the normal functioning of cells thereby altering the biochemical and physiological mechanisms of animals contributing to respiratory, osmoregulation and reproduction predicaments. The augmented mortality rate is also in the limelight due to air pollution. Notably, air pollution is also a significant cause of global warming which adversely affects the environment.
Another noticeable aspect is the presence of heavy metals in the textile industries effluent which is non-biodegradable, and their accumulation in primary organs leads to symptoms of various maladies. Dumping of waste products such as, scraps of fabric, yarn and packaging waste at an open area is another form of environmental degradation by textile industries. Accumulations of these residues form a breeding ground for infectious microorganisms that cause diseases. Some of these waste products take long prior decomposing thus polluting the environment.
Sweatshops dealing with textile production immensely contributes to environmental degradation due to unconducive working conditions. Sweatshops refer to factories or shops where employees work long hours for a meager remuneration and under unfavorable or unhealthy conditions. Personnel working in this shops are not taken good care of thus are vulnerable to adverse implications of inhaling the toxic gases or consumption of contaminated substances. Measures to prevent high environmental pollution from the textile industries operations are also overlooked thus amplified rate of contamination. Therefore, textile industries through sweatshops contribute to a greater extent to ecological pollution globally.
Thus, it is evidently clear that textile industries bear lethal negative implications into the environment besides its many benefits and expansion worldwide. The development comes as a result of increased demand which in turn leads to increased waste being released into the environment. Textile effluent causes a significant degree of human maladies as well as environmental degradation. The release of untreated effluent from textile industries negatively affects both aquatic and terrestrial life via polluting the natural ecosystem thereby causing long-term health effects and unexpected deaths. Adoption of measures that reduce a number of waste products leaving the industries will play a crucial role in ensuring a clean environment. Deteriorating conditions of sweatshops operating in textile production also contribute significantly to environmental pollution. Therefore, improvement of the working conditions can aid in curbing these challenges
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