60 thousand tons of Chilean desert waste can be seen from space in fast fashion


Fashion and beauty

June 20, 2023 | 10:04 p.m

What a waste.

A satellite image taken over Chile’s Atacama desert shows an ever-growing pile of discarded clothing as the fast fashion crisis continues.

The photo, shared by satellite photo and video app Skyfy last month, highlights the effects of an estimated 59,000 tons of used and unsold clothing arriving at Chile’s Iquique port from the US, Europe and Asia.

Throughout South America, anything that cannot be resold joins the desert waste to slowly rot.

Many of these items can take up to 200 years to biodegrade, as most are made of synthetic fabrics or treated with chemicals.

Christmas sweaters and ski boots are among the clothes in the trash.
Jam Press/SkyFi

The textile has caused health problems by contaminating nearby water sources and soil with toxic chemicals.

39,000 tons of unwanted clothes are added to the pile every year.

Skyfy said it got the footage for $44.

“The satellite image we ordered to look at a pile of clothes in Chile’s Atacama desert puts things in perspective,” he wrote on the SkyFi blog.

“The size of the pile and the pollution it causes is visible from space, making it clear that change is needed in the fashion industry.”

The mountain is visible from space.
Jam Press/SkyFi

SkyFi reports that with the help of members of its Discord channel, it was able to identify the coordinates of the piles and quickly acquired the current image.

The Post has contacted SkyFi for comment.

Lawyer Paulina Silva shows discarded clothes in the La Pampa desert.
AFP via Getty Images
SkyFi shared the satellite images to its blog last month.
Jam Press/SkyFi

Similar images of clothing-filled mountain dumps near Nairobi made headlines earlier this year.

At the time, investigators estimated that about 300 million “damaged or unsalable garments” end up in Kenya’s landfills.

The United Nations In 2018, the fashion industry was responsible for 2 to 8% of global carbon emissions.

The fast fashion market will be worth more than USD 106 billion in 2022 and is expected to reach USD 185 billion by 2027.

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