“A lot of brands overproduce by up to 40 per cent.”
On the banks of the Korle Lagoon, in the Ghanaian capital of Accra
Some 15 million used garments pour into Accra every week from the UK, Europe, North America and Australia
An estimated 40 per cent are of such poor quality they are deemed worthless on arrival and end up dumped in landfill.
Wander around Accra and every spare inch of pavement seems occupied by a hawker
We’re buying 60 per cent more clothes now than we did 15 years ago.
But we’re only keeping them for half as long.
An estimated 85 per cent of all textiles go to the dump every year, according to the World Economic Forum, enough to fill Sydney Harbour annually.
Equally, she believes consumers are “somewhat complicit”. “We have decided that convenience is a human right and we think that when we go shopping we should always be able to find exactly what we want,” she said. “We should find it in our size and the colour that we want. That also contributes to this overproduction.”
“We have become the dumping ground for textile waste that is produced from Europe, from the Americas and [elsewhere].”
Synthetic textiles can take hundreds of years to decompose.
The textiles which do make it all the way out to sea wreak yet more damage.
“I’m not sure they’ve ever been conscious to ask, where is the final destination of that thing they are discarding,” he said. “But if they come here, like you’ve come, and you see the practicality for yourself, then they will know that, no, we better take care of these things within our country and not ship that problem … to other people.
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