The Atacama Desert in Chile has become a dumping ground for unsold clothing from fashion retailers. Located in the Chilean commune of Alto Hospicio, it is suffering from the problem of contamination from fast fashion. More and more clothes are bought, with less durability. A situation that leads to the increase in the unsustainability of this industry and to the contamination and destruction of some places.
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The data indicates that every year some 59,000 tons of clothing that has not been sold in the United States, Europe and Asia arrive in this commune, to be marketed in South America. Any amount that does not reach Santiago de Chile or is not smuggled to other countries ends up in this desert. Up to 39,000 tons end up in this area.
Clothing manufacturing is behind 8% of the world's greenhouse gases. The leftover garments are also buried or left in the air, releasing gases into the atmosphere or contaminating the environment. Afterwards, clothing can take up to 200 years to degrade and is as toxic as tires or plastics. This aspect is what brings them to this desert, not being made of biodegradable materials and containing toxic substances.
In recent years, movements have emerged that are committed to a more sustainable consumption of fashion and the recycling of clothing. Several companies have been created in the area in recent years, such as EcoFibra, Ecocitex or Sembra, to recycle the clothes that arrive. From it they make other garments, thread, lampshades, notebooks, containers or bags.
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