Impact of conventional cotton on the environment, farming, and health
Cotton is the heart of the textile industry! From fashion to furnishing, cotton has no better replacement! It is one of the largest used cash crops and accounts for 33% of all the fibers are generated from cotton. As being the most used natural fiber, scientists have introduced various ways to produce versatile fiber. However, all these methods are not environment-friendly. In fact, with the growing number of textile industry and its increasing demand, the production methods have been continuously modified.
The conventional cotton production method is not at all good for healthy farming and the environment as a whole. Even though cotton is eco-friendly and biodegradable, it has some serious health concerns in the long run. The cotton fiber gets decomposed in the soil. However, it poses a series of negative consequences.
The effect of inorganic cotton production is detrimental to the environment. In addition, it can lead to serious health concerns in the long run. So, how the cotton plants are affecting the environment?
Let's have a glance at the negative impact of inorganic cotton production:
The most evident impact of cotton production is global warming! Around 220 million metric tons of carbon is emitted from cotton plants every year. In fact, the usages of synthetic fertilizers emit harmful gases like nitrous oxide in the environment. It is 310 times more potent than the former. This unsustainable practice also leads to deforestation and CFC gas emissions.
Hence, industry owners are looking for sustainable production to mitigate the potential environmental risk. However, the dream of organic cotton farming can only be fruitful if the consumer recognizes its benefits!
Cotton production is an intricate process. Water is the most crucial ingredient for manufacturing the crop. Around 2,700 liters of waste are required to manufacture a single cotton t-shirt. It is enough for an individual to drink the same amount for more than two years. In addition, dying cotton requires more intensive water treatment. Hence, the unsustainable way of production requires a massive amount of water to thrive a profit. In some cases, many cotton plants illegally use the groundwater to irrigate the cotton field. The poor management of farming often leads to soil erosion.
On the other hand, the sustainable production method requires less water and has been increasing its production process with water recycling.
In order to improve productivity and profitability, the genetic combination of the seeds is modified. GMO cotton is widely produced in China, Argentina, India, South Africa, and the United States. The scientific method of insecticides has developed more than 40 weed species to fight against glyphosate. There is a risk of developing wild crops from genetic manipulation.
In contrast, natural cotton seeds are inexpensive and manufactured without any modification. Even though the production quantity is less, the quality of the fabric is much better and harmless.
Pollution of cotton production
The pristine color of the fabric is more appealing aesthetically. Moreover, it is a part of cotton production. However, the fashion industry has accounted for more than 20% of the entire industrial pollution. It is indeed alarming. The process of dyeing and bleaching involves a lot of chemicals. Hence, runoff wastewater contains more potent chlorine, chemicals, and pesticides. When these wastes get deposited in river ways and wetlands, it is likely to contaminate the entire water body. Eventually, it poses a serious danger to wildlife.
Pollution from cotton farming
The pesticides and fertilizers used in the production process can damage the productivity of the soil. The repeated use of heavy synthetic fertilizers is life-threatening for humans, wildlife, soil, and water. In fact, the farmers living in the surrounding many suffer from heart disease, respiratory problems, and skin infections. Moreover, individuals with sensitive skin often develop serious skin problems in the long run!
The ill effect of unsustainable cotton farming is already evident! Moreover, a large group of people is affected by harsh chemicals. Intensive cotton cultivation poses a potential health risk for the farmers and the users as well! Hence, to promote better health and the environment, it is imperative to choose an alternative. Here comes the importance of sustainable cotton or organic cotton.
How to ensure sustainable cotton consumption?
If consumers take the initiative to shift to organic cotton, they could slow down global warming effectively. Organic cotton production involves crop rotation, water recycling, and biodegradable pest control. As a consumer, it is not possible to keep track of the production process. In that case, and you can look for the following points:
Choose a certified cotton manufacturer
Organic cotton is rain-fed. Moreover, it used 62% less energy. Their natural pest management method offers sustainable production without risking earth and human health. In addition, the production process translates less pollution and improves soil health.
Organizations like GOTS, REEL, BCI provides certification to the organic manufacturer. They also have a strict protocol of ethical production. The standard rule suggests responsible manufacturing, reducing price fluctuation, and influencing the apparel industry to take environment-friendly initiatives.
To Wrap Up
Clothing is more than human need! As a responsible citizen, you commit to the global climate at large. Amidst the competitive world, sustainable manufacturing would be a daunting choice for the industry owner. So, the consumer should be aware of the potential of organic cotton. They should also recognize its health implications so that we can hope for a better future!