How many detriments are there when producing cotton fabrics?
Yes, cotton farming is extremely harmful for the environment particularly because cottons produced in China, United States, India, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and West Africa accounts for over 75% of the global production and they are some very pesticide-intensive crop. According to WWF, about 20 million tons of cotton are produced each year in around 90 countries.
Water & Chemicals:
20,000 litres of water or more is used to produce 2.2lbs of cotton which is equivalent to a single t-shirt and a pair of jeans. These large amount of water that is used would flow back to the soil, degrading the soil's fertility thanks to the pesticide residues and salt that causes soil salinisation where the salt content in the soil becomes too high.
Moreover, some rivers and lakes are gradually drying out because 73% of global cotton harvest from irrigated land, where a controlled amount of water is supplied to the plants are regular intervals. During the irrigation water process, most of the water is lost before reaching the cotton fields due to poor infrastructure. And since cotton is a very "thirsty" crop, rivers like the Aral Sea in central Asia is starting to dry out.
Also, these water run-off from fields to the adjacent rivers and lakes does not only contain soil sediments but also pesticide residues, salts and fertilizers. These pesticides would have a direct effect on animals that drink it or the people that drink it directly without processing (happens in countries that are still developing), all these would cause them to get sick or worse, death. According to WWF, the Endosulfan pesticide sprayed on cotton field has caused more than 240,000 fish-death in a river in Alabama.
The fertilizers on the other hand that runs-off to the river and lakes also cause problems because the excessive nutrients actually cause an extensive growth of algae on freshwater, causing the fish or other plants at the bottom of the river or lake to die due to the disruption of the biological ecosystem.
3.4% of the world's crop land is planted with cotton and it accounts for 24% of the global sales of insecticides and 11% of global sales of pesticides. Isn't that crazy?!
Besides that, genetically-modified (GM) cotton are increasing over the years because they want the cotton fields to be resistant to some insect pests and/or tolerant of certain herbicides that inhibits growth of unwanted plants. They also carry out GM to further enhance the cotton plant so that they can produce more seeds.
All these modification actually contributes to new risks. For example, a genetically-modified cotton in China, Bt Cotton actually caused a surge in crop pest that destroys fruit, vegetable, cotton and cereal crops. Even though this cotton is modified to kill the common cotton pest that eats it's production, it ended up increasing the growth of a minor pests which infest more fruit crops, causing farmers to use more insecticides to kill the bugs.
Look at all these side effects of COTTON FARMING, to prevent ourselves from contributing to the issue, gHwc has stopped the cotton fabric orders. Instead, we have replaced it with some new Rib Knit Fabrics! Check it out :) It comes in 4 colors: Olive, Black, Teal, White!