Revealed: How unwanted plastic waste from Western countries is disguised as ‘Mitumba’ clothing
- Kenya receives 900 million pieces of used clothing every year, says the Netherlands-based Changing Markets Foundation.
- Between 20% and 50% of all ‘Mitumba’ clothing is not of sufficient quality to be sold in Kenya.
Kenya receives tonnes plastic waste disguised as ‘Mitumba’ (used clothing).
A new report has lifted the lid on this new form of dumping by Western countries that’s targeting poor countries in Africa.
"More than one in three pieces of used clothing shipped to Kenya is a form of plastic waste in disguise and a substantial element of toxic plastic pollution in the country," the report by Wildlight and Clean Up Kenya says.
According to Netherlands-based Changing Markets Foundation, Kenya receives 900 million pieces of used clothing every year.
The report notes that besides the plastics, some of the Mitumba clothing is either stained with vomit or badly damaged, or is of no use in Kenya's relatively warmer climate.
"I have seen people open bales with skiing gear and winter clothes, which are of no use to most Kenyans," Betterman Simidi Musasia, Clean Up Kenya founder is quoted by news agency AFP as saying.
The report says between 20% and 50% of all ‘Mitumba’ clothing is not of sufficient quality to be sold in Kenya, ending up in landfills/ dumping sites such as one in Dandora, Nairobi County.
The report called for the use of non-toxic and sustainable materials in textile manufacturing, and the establishment of more robust extended producer responsibility schemes around the world, reports AP.
"The Global North is using the trade of used clothing as a pressure-release valve to deal with fast fashion's enormous waste problem," notes the report.
- Advertisement -