LAHORE: The carbon footprint expands corresponding to the improvement in the quality of life more so in developing economies like Pakistan where development is associated with rampant pollution, contamination of pure water channels with industrial chemicals and human waste.
We cannot avoid the carbon footprint that increases with a rise in consumption of better quality animal protein, production of grains, and industrial crops like cotton but by conservation methods and better agricultural management practices the emission of carbon in the atmosphere can be highly reduced.
Similarly through non-tolerant policies the pollution of water channels could be avoided.
The industrial waste should not be allowed to enter water canals, river, and sea.
Release of municipal waste in rivers and seas without treatment, by the municipalities, is as criminal as anything.
There are no emission standards as far as vehicles and industrial sector is concerned. We import used cars without subjecting them to emission tests.
Textile industry processes alone consume 69 percent of the industrial water used in Pakistan.
This industry discharges 2280 million cubic meters of waste water annually. What is more disturbing is that only one percent of this water is treated.
Experts say that up to 35 percent of water can be saved through conservation and recycling measures.
Despite occupying only 2.4 percent of the world’s cropland, cotton accounts for 24 percent of the world’s insecticide use and 11 percent of pesticides most of which
contaminates the water channels.
More than 15 percent water saving is possible in cotton cultivation.
The Better Cotton Initiative of WWF is working with farmers to grow cotton with less water.
In Pakistan, the initiative has worked with 75,000 farmers who, as a result, have reduced the use of water by 39 percent and increased income by 11 percent.
Their usage of pesticides also reduced by 47 percent less pesticides and chemical fertilisers 39 percent.
It’s estimated that around 20 percent of industrial water pollution in the world comes from the treatment and dyeing of textiles, and about 8,000 synthetic chemicals are used to turn raw materials into textiles.
It takes 700 gallons (2700 litres) of water to make a cotton T-shirt and takes a staggering 400 gallons to grow the cotton required to grow the cotton to make that an ordinary shirt. In other words, it is three years worth of drinking water to create one such shirt.
There is more, it takes around 1,800 gallons of water to grow enough cotton to produce just one pair of regular blue jeans. That is more water than what is used to make a ton of cement. It takes 2,110 gallons of water to craft one pair of leather shoes.
In the developing world, where the majority of manufacturing takes place, factories and textile mills are located directly along or close by waterways such as rivers and canals.
These factories consume 1.5 billion cubic meters of freshwater annually. Estimates show a single polyester garment releases 1,9000 individual plastic micro fibers that go into oceans, endangering the ecosystems and finally showing up in our food.
Growing, manufacturing, and transporting a single cotton T-shirt involves a lot of energy. And washing and ironing even consumes more energy. That’s why brands using raw, natural, renewable or recycled materials are on the rise.
These materials include flax, monocel (a form of bamboo material that uses less water and toxic chemicals), linen, and recycled polyester. The consumers in developed economies now seek out for brands that use waterless dyeing and low-impact dyes for they help reduce the polluting of waterways.
One load of washing uses 40 gallons of water. One load of drying uses five times more energy than washing. In fact, skipping ironing and drying of your t-shirt, saves a third of its carbon footprint.
Whether it’s reducing waste, saving energy, or being a conscientious consumer, small actions can make a big difference. We will have to think about ways to save energy and water for the generations to come and the health of the planet.
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