Blog |  Chile, the Atacama desert has become the dustbin of fast fashion - Il Fatto Quotidiano

Blog | Chile, the Atacama desert has become the dustbin of fast fashion – Il Fatto Quotidiano

by Pietro Fucile

For many generations preceding that of today’s children, the future has represented the place where the fruits of commitment and confident expectations can mature. However, we must take note, “the future of the past no longer exists” since what one glimpses seems to slope down towards the landscapes described in the literature. dystopian.

The great economic and financial interests, through their political terminals, concede very little to a real transformation of the development model, today based on a reckless exploitation of natural resources, which leads to the exacerbation of inequalities and social injustice. However, working in the direction of sustainable development is not exclusive to the “Masters of the earth”, at times it can also be able to contain a certain propensity to consume, which unfortunately permeates all of us a little, and which has a very high price to pay.

For example, it does not seem to be known to so many consumers (those who today buy 60% more of the clothing they bought a couple of decades ago) that after oil, the industry most responsible for the pollution of the planet is that at the head of textile industry and to the (excessively glorified) world of fashion which, according to a recent United Nations study, is responsible for 10% of greenhouse gas emissions and 20% of total water waste.

This is how new and unwanted landscapes, ever more numerous, take on consistency. As it happens in Chile among the surreal atmospheres of the “flowery desert” of Atacama, Unesco heritage nestled between the volcanoes of the Andes and the Pacific Ocean. Alongside the dunes of this unique place, on the outskirts of the free port of Iquique, hills of unsold clothing from the United States, Europe and Asia to turn it into a fast-fashion garbage can: 60,000 tons of unsold items, every year, to complete the cycle of a system of commercial practices that stimulates compulsive purchases of low-cost garments, put into practice by brands which produce much more than they are able to sell, and propose a continuous updating of the collections, even fortnightly, in place of the classic four seasons.

The circuit, however, does not hold up, it is congested with this amount of scraps which for the most part are no longer able to be conveyed through Santiago’s traders or by illegal channels to the rest of Latin America. They remain there to decompose, in the open or under the land of the Atacama desert, to contaminate the air, the earth and the waters.

In addition to being disrespectful to the work behind those artifacts, similar production models should question everyone’s intelligence, not only for issues related to ecological choices, but also with respect to the exploitation of labor of developing countries that too often underlies such industrial practices … and also because (perhaps) it will not be the meteorite of Adam Mckay’s film “Don’t look up” with Leonardo Di Caprio and Jennifer Lawrence to finish us off, but something more like a blue floral blouse.

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