Cotton is one of the naturally occurring fibers which is mostly associated with quality clothing because of its soft, light and breathable nature. For the same reason, they are widely used in various wardrobe staples like t-shirts and jeans. When compared to the other common clothing fibers like synthetic polyester, semi-synthetic bamboo, and rayon, cotton mostly has the benefit of being a hundred percent natural product. According to clothing manufacturers like Luxury Knit cotton doesn’t need any intensive chemical processing to be converted into fabrics.
Although cotton is obtained from nature, its production is haunted by allegations of exploitation, pollutions, and even slavery. It is also one of the most abundantly produced fiber all over the world. This urges everyone to take a closer look at some of the concerns as well as solutions associated with the production of cotton.
The Thirsty Crop
The cultivation of cotton requires a lot of water and it is mostly done in arid conditions. A large amount of water is used for growing cotton every year. This virtual water is needed to be considered while purchasing products made from cotton. Several studies have shown that more than 2700 liters of water is required for producing a cotton t-shirt.
The higher levels of water wastage happen as a result of irrigation, pollution and also inefficient water usage due to the use of pesticides. The use of various chemicals in the stages of dyeing and production also results in polluting the water. The safe disposal of harmful chemicals used for dying the fabrics is also very expensive – this problem along with the pressure to make cheaper clothing often results in the contamination of the river systems.
It is a fact that GMO cotton is one of the major contributing factors to the debt web of farmers across the world. The idea behind cultivating GMO cotton is that they have BT toxins in them which is resistant to a variety of pests like bollworm.
In addition to the fact that organic cotton is devoid of hazardous chemicals, it also has a variety of other advantages. Petroleum scours, flame retardants, heavy metals are some of the common harmful pesticides which can even be detected on the processed clothes.
The seeds of organic cotton are much cheaper than GMO cotton, the cultivation of which helps farmers to escape debt and poverty. Also, fewer pesticides used on cotton plants is beneficial to the environment and to the health of farmers and consumers.