Ghana— A Case study in Ghana has revealed that imported second-hand clothes are polluting ecosystems and causing significant public health problems.
Most African countries predominantly rely on these clothes that are cheaper that locally made clothes. To some economies, re-selling Second-Hand clothes has become one of the major economic activity that contribute greatly to countries’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
According to reports, every day, 160 tons of clothes arrive in the Ghana: clothes that have been donated to charities in Europe or the United States and are sent to Africa by recycling companies.
Not all imported used clothes are however in a condition to resell, the unsalable are discarded to garbage dumps in the Capital Accra, forming an immense textile mountain on the edge of the Atlantic.
In accordance with global reports, the textile industry causes a massive amount of pollution, contributing up to 10 per cent of world greenhouse gas (WHG) emissions.
The industry also generates a huge amount of waste, with clothing either being dumped in landfills or shipped to lower-income countries to be sold, causing environmental, economic and social damage.
There are challenges to building a circular textile economy, including the high cost of recycled fibres and the current linear system of apparel production which makes it difficult to separate different fibres for commercial recycling.
However, recycling technology is improving rapidly and costs are going down. With a large labour force and the availability of second-hand clothing usually sorted from a single source, there is a compelling opportunity for transformation through scaled recycling.
Wasted textiles can become a useful raw material for environmentally aware retailers, rather than ending up in landfills and adding to the climate crisis.