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Fabric Dyeing = Death of Water Bodies


The Silent Killer

Fabric dyeing uses a lot of water for treating and washing processes. A lot of the processes that involves water resources, ends up polluting the resource itself. Chemicals in synthetic dyes find their way into water bodies, affecting human health and causing the death of water ecosystems.



How much is the water dyeing?

50,000 tons of dye are discharged into global water systems from textile industries. Factory workers often use harmful dyes without protective clothing or use dyes laced with banned ingredients.



Types of Harmful Chemicals

Some examples of harmful chemicals contained in dyes include: aniline, dioxin, formaldehyde and heavy metals such as zinc.



Harmful Effects to the people around

When consumed or come into contact with human skin, it can cause negative effects ranging from hormone disruption to neurological damage in children and fire hazards to cancer for factory workers. Chemicals such as Anililine, and metals such as lead are found in the process.



Effects of dye pollution on water bodies

20% of water pollution comes from textile dyeing. Most textile companies dump the used water from dyeing into water bodies. The water is usually contaminated with chemicals and heavy metals such as mercury, lead, nickel, cobalt, cadmium, sulphur and arsenic.



What can be done to reduce dye pollution?

1. Fashion professionals should be aware of the dyeing processes of the textiles used.

2. Governments should be at the forefront of creating and enforcing policies that promote safe use and disposal of dyes.

3. Environmental bodies should serve as ‘the people’s WatchGuard’, and actively protect water bodies.



Textile industries should explore new production methods

1. Explore a shift from harmful synthetic chemical-based dyes to natural dyes.

2. Reduce & recycle water instead of polluting the other water bodies.

3. Invest in education on methods of treatment & storage of industrial waste.

4. Explore the use of activated carbon instead of water to absorb chemicals produced during dyeing.

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