The fashion industry is a billion pound global industry which employs millions worldwide. It is dynamic and creative, yet it is continuing to damage the environment through poor working conditions and circumventing environmental regulations. It is commonly assumed that cotton is a sustainable fabric. However, typically cotton contains more pesticides than any other crop. Cotton production is therefore responsible for polluting the environment and eco system. Many harmful chemicals are introduced in the production cycle of cotton to clothing. These pollute the air, water and soil.
In under half a century, water diversion projects and mismanagement have reduced the Aral Sea to less than 10% of its original surface area as a result of cotton production. Cotton needs a warm climate and a lot of water. In Uzbekistan, the cotton business still amounts to 60% of exports and employs 40% of the workforce while using up 90% of its water. The resultant damage is far-reaching and is described eloquently in http://electrictreehouse.com/cotton-and-the-disappearance-of-the-aral-sea/