'Dying' for the latest trend: fast fashion protests hit Cork

'Dying' for the latest trend: fast fashion protests hit Cork
Extinction Rebellion's "Dying for Fast Fashion" event on Saturday. Photo credit: Oliver Moran

On Saturday, Extinction Rebellion held a "die-in" protest on Opera Lane in Cork city centre.

The protesters were demonstrating against the destructive fast fashion industry, which is a major contributor to pollution.

Extinction Rebellion said "we plan to do whatever we can to force the Irish Government to take drastic actions, bringing awareness to the general public and hold fast fashion companies accountable for the products they produce and the environmental impact their practices cause."

Extinction Rebellion made headlines across the globe for their civil disobedience protests against climate breakdown, biodiversity loss, and the risk of social and ecological collapse.

Last month a group of Extinction Rebellion protestors glued themselves to the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment in Dublin.

The eco protestors have specific demands of the Irish government in relation to the fast fashion industry. The demands relate to raising awareness of fast fashion's wastefulness, labeling, clothing production, and packaging.

According to a European Parliament report on the environmental impact of the textile and clothing industry, released this year, the fashion industry is one of the world's leading polluters.

The amount of clothes bought in the EU increased by 40% between 1996 and 2012. Clothing accounts for between 2% and 10% of the environmental impact of EU consumption.

In Ireland, 225,000 tonnes of textile waste is disposed of each year, according to Extinction Rebellion.

"Globally, carbon emissions from the fashion industry result in 1.2 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually, more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined. It is the second-largest cause of global greenhouse gas emissions," said Extinction Rebellion in a statement.

"The fast fashion industry is one of the largest consumers of freshwater. It takes 2,720 litres of water to make a T-shirt. That’s the equivalent of three years of drinking water." 

Recycling technology has also not caught up with the fast fashion industry: "It would take 12 years to recycle what the fast fashion industry creates in just 48 hours."

Factory workers who produce clothes have little to no working rights, according to Fashion Revolution, a non-profit social enterprise which aims to make the fashion industry safer and greener. According to their statistics, in Guangdong in China, young women face 150 hours of overtime each month, 60% have no contract and 90% have no access to social insurance. In Bangladesh, garment workers earn £44 per month, which is a quarter of the living wage. 

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