The process of fast fashion is continuing to impact our environment in negative ways, as clothing is being made and thrown out at an alarming rate. Because of this, a pile of clothes is now visible from Space.
Chile’s Atacama Desert, the driest desert in the world, is turning into one giant landfill full of old, discarded clothes. More than 66,000 tons of clothes reside at the massive landfill which is now visible from Space thanks to high-resolution satellite images.
Due to all the waste in the Atacama landfill, the United Nations has declared the site as “an environmental and social emergency” for the planet.”
Right around 65,000 tons of clothing are brought in from Europe, Asia, and North America to be dumped at the landfill. The clothes in the landfill will start to release harmful pollutants into the air and into water channels.
What makes this so easy for other countries is that the area is in one of Chile’s tax-free zones, meaning there are no customs-related fees for importers. Also, a 2016 law puts accountability on merchants for waste, but that law excludes textiles, making the decision to abandon the clothing much easier.
Only about 15% of the clothes coming to the landfill are second-hand, meaning 85% of the clothing being discard has never been worn.