Environmental issues with cotton


Tons of water used in cotton production

Globally, this year

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Tons of water used in cotton production

Globally, this year

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The environmental issues with cotton are...
MANY. More chemicals are used for cotton than for any other crop and cotton production requires so much water that is has nearly made a whole sea disappear. Yes, really!

Top 5 facts about water use in cotton production


Cotton uses immense quantities of water

It takes 10,000 liters of water to produce 1 kilo of cotton, meaning it takes about 2,700 liters to make 1 cotton t-shirt. When you buy clothing you therefore “use” water from wherever the cotton was produced.


Devastating consequences

Have you heard about the Aral Sea? Once the 4th largest lake in the world, but now virtually gone - mainly because of cotton cultivation. It has been called one of the planet's worst environmental disasters by the UN. You can see for yourself in the video below.


Deadly dust

Instead of the lake, 43 million tons of pesticide-laden dust is blown into the air every year. The Aral Sea region suffers from the highest rates of throat cancer in the world - representing 80 percent of the cases of cancer.


Cause heavy pollution

Hazardous pesticides commonly use for cotton production are often found in nearby water resources. In Uzbekistan, groundwater at depths up to 150 meters is often polluted with pesticides. Around 85 percent of the population suffers from poor health as a result of unsafe drinking water.


Raining with pesticides

Rain water in a Brazilian cotton region contained 19 different pesticides - 12 of which were used in cotton production.

Watch a video

The Aral Sea

This short film by director Sergei Naumov takes an educational look at the steadily vanishing waters of the Aral Sea, a landlocked oasis in the deserts of Central Asia, and its affects on the nearby and global environment. It appeared at this year's Tribeca Film Festival.

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