In Ghana, these thousands of clothes thrown up by the waves of the Atlantic Ocean, land on the coasts of the country which have been transformed, over time, into veritable open dumps.
A significant part of used clothing in the West ends up on the beaches and in the seas of African countries.
Having become a real open dump, Ghana no longer knows how to manage the tons of old used clothes from the West which continue to pile up inexorably on its coasts.
In Accra, the capital, an artificial dune, twenty meters high today, has been growing steadily for fifteen years.
In an attempt to contain the phenomenon, the inhabitants burn these clothes.
“We burn the clothes, again and again, but there are always more. It makes us sick”, explains one of them, who is unaware of the potentially toxic consequences of the fumes escaping from it on the health of the population. Not to mention the effects on the environment.
Every day, nearly 160 tons of clothes arrive in containers in Ghana, clothes that no one wants in Western countries anymore. A whole economy has developed around these clothes. But very few are usable. The rest ends up in the trash. According to a study, more than 70 tons of fabrics end up in landfills every day. Because the lifespan of clothing continues to shorten, and today it is considered that at least one in eight t-shirts ends up in an African dump.
This constitutes a real ecological disaster for the various climatic associations which denounce this phenomenon and which only an awakening of consciences could limit.
According to Liz Ricketts, a former New York designer, now head of an NGO that aims to understand the impact of textile pollution, “brands and consumers are responsible for this ecological disaster.” She calls for a change in consumption.
“It’s going to take years for the clothes to degrade, and during that time, harmful and toxic microfibers are released into the environment,” says the founder of The Or Foundation.
Every week, Ghana receives no less than 15 million items of clothing. Theoretically, these clothes should be sorted and recycled in order to be resold throughout Africa. But the reality is quite different. Clothes, mostly from fast fashion, are often not of good enough quality to be recycled. Only half of them are, the other half end up being thrown away.