Have you ever wondered about your clothes? Where are they made? Who made them? As a teenager, I asked myself these questions and decided to find out.
My clothes are mostly made offshore, roughly 95 per cent. The country that produced the most was China.
A basic Chinese textile worker works 17 hours a day, six days a week. The working conditions inside a Chinese textile factory are poor.
Workers face constant discrimination, forced overtime, go months without pay, and when they lose their job, they don’t receive pension or severance pay. They are given no safety training for their job.
Workers work in very dark, damp, and very hot workplaces. Around one million workers are injured at work every year. There are frequent accidents like fires, where there are instances of people dying because the doors were closed to prevent people from escaping with clothes.
Cotton is the most common material in my clothes. It takes roughly 20,000 litres of water to produce one kilogram of cotton, equivalent to a T-shirt. Pesticides and insecticides run off into local ecosystems. Polyester is the second most common material and is the least environmentally friendly material.
Polyester is a synthetic material, a by-product of petroleum, created by heating and producing chemicals. China, where 53 per cent of the world’s polyester is made, uses coal to produce electricity.
As a concerned teenager, I would happily pay more for my clothes that are environmentally and people friendly.