The fashion industry is known for its poignant impacts regarding the environment, particularly when we talk about emissions. Water wastage and disposal are the most frequently visited subjects, so today I’m here to talk about a less known, but equally bad sector of the industry: noise pollution.
To build an empire within the world of fashion we need factories. Most developing countries are home to factories and factory workers, because popular brands provide jobs and housing by employing civilians and using their resources. Conversation on the humanitarian aspects of the fashion industry opens up another dimension, so the main focus here is the effects of the factories outside of the physical pollution we see.
Textile industries always incorporate modern automated machines, however, ‘emissions of excessive noise and ambient sound at work in the textile industry have shown a noticeable increase’. Noise levels of 70 to 110 dB are commonly recorded in textile plants workrooms and allegedly the progress towards greater speeds has resulted in excessive noise levels, often exceeding 110 dBA in spinning and weaving mills (Ejigu, 2019) (Noisy Fashion).
The reason these stats are important are because the noise does impact individual health to varying degrees. According to Noisy Fashion’s analysis, the latest data (EEA, 2019) concludes that ‘long-term exposure to environmental noise is estimated to cause 12,000 premature deaths and contribute to 48,000 new cases of ischaemic heart disease per year’ in Europe alone. Similarly, it is estimated that 22 million people suffer chronic high annoyance and 6.5 million people suffer chronic high sleep disturbance as a result of environmental noise exposure throughout the EU member states.
Industrialisation, transportation, and urbanization have historically pushed environmental noise to the limelight, and the sustainability of future growth and development may be jeopardized as a result of noise’s detrimental consequences. These consequences have an impact on people’s quality of life and well-being, as well as the potential to affect their physiological health. Recent data from large-scale epidemiological studies has conclusively connected environmental noise exposure to negative health outcomes.
As a result, environmental noise must be viewed not only as a nuisance but also as a serious threat to public health.