In March, the governments of the East African Community proposed a ban on imports of secondhand clothes to their regional trade bloc by 2019. The logic is that by stopping the trade of used garments, the apparel industry in these countries will be revitalized, create jobs and exports, and bolster their economies. What interests me is the implications this ban would have on the donating Western countries: If we could no longer offload our unwanted discarded clothing onto the poor, what would we do with those clothes?
The rise of fast fashion has created a tsunami of inexpensive castoff clothing from the U.S. that often ends up resold or reprocessed into pillow stuffing or other goods in the same low-wage countries where it was made.
It may be a financial goliath but behind China’s global influence lays an ecological fragility perilous to progress. Having followed a largely pro-capitalist economic agenda based on industrialisation and radical expansion since the late seventies, China is now the world’s second largest economy and set to become the biggest by 2030. Yet 16 of the world's 20 most polluted cities are found in the country, 60% of groundwater is polluted and more than a quarter of its key rivers are unfit for human contact. By Fi Anderson
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