Streamlining textile waste: The business and environmental case

The textile industry in developing countries such as Lesotho, India and South Africa contributes towards a large portion of blue collar jobs and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for their respective countries.The Lesotho, Indian and South African textile industries employ fifty thousand, thirty five million and eighty thousand people respectively.

The Indian textile sector is responsible for about 5% of India’s GDP and 14% of its exports, while Lesotho’s textile sector contributes about 14% to the GDP and 60% to exports.

Due to a combination of readily available low cost labour, poorly enforced environmental regulations, export incentives such as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), and funding opportunities provided by parastatals such as the Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) in South Africa, these developing countries can prove to be fertile ground for investors seeking textile manufacturing opportunities.

Textile enterprises such as tannery and denim manufacturing consume large amounts of water and generate large amounts of toxic waste. This poses a problem both from the view point of the enterprises as well as the welfare of communities and the environment.

For textile enterprises, the cost of purchasing water for operations and partially treating the waste for environmental discharge can cost large sums. It can sometimes be more profitable to recover the waste water/effluent generated, treat it and recycle the water back into operations instead.

For communities and the environment, textile operations have been known to consume up to a third of potable water generated by municipalities (as is the case in Maseru, Lesotho). This causes immense pressure on an already overburdened water system. In addition, the waste generated by the textile enterprises, which is usually discarded in river bodies contains toxic chemicals and heavy metals which affect the environment, the crops and livestock of communities living downstream as well as the general health of the individuals who rely on the river water.

Mop Tech, provides green and sustainable solutions taking into account both the perspectives of textile enterprises and communities in order to enhance the bottom line of the textile industry by recovery, treating and the reuse of the waste water. This process can ensure that municipal systems are not overburdened and can mitigate negative impacts on the lives of communities down stream of textile operations.


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