It should be no secret that many industrial enterprises create a lot of waste. When you are talking about the garment industry in particular, that waste largely comes in the form of tainted water from the dyeing process. This is a much larger problem in developing economies such as China, India and areas of South America (to name the big players). There is often little regulation or oversight, and the pollutants often create a much more damaging impact on the populations due to proximity and the lack of clean water sources.
There are all sorts of cutting edge technology and thought going into the worlds water supply-- namely ensuring that villages, towns and cities have access to clean and safe water (for example: the LifeStraw
). But scientists at Cornell are focusing specifically on cleaning industrial dyes from water supplies. A main culprit in the aforementioned nations is our blue friend, Indigo which is used to dye all sorts of garments, including denim. They have developed a simple and cheap process using the fibers of the Fique plant (a native to South America) and embedding them with nano particles that can rid water of harmful textile dyes in mere minutes.
"These molecules are contaminants that are very resilient to traditional water-purification processes, and we believe our biocomposite materials can be an option for their removal from waste water," --Marianny Combariza, researcher at Colombia's Universidad Industrial de Santander.
The specifics of this process are a little over my head, but the results are exciting and hopeful. You can read more about this study and specifics of their process on phys.org
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