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Climate may wreck garment industry

Climate changes may be affecting the readymade garment sector in Bangladesh. Diseases spike during extreme weather events. In garment factories, the humidity, combined with heat and fabric dust emitted by the sewing machines, makes breathing difficult. These conditions exhaust workers’ energy and focus, affecting their efficiency and productivity, which in turn also may be affecting the performance of the readymade garment sector.

From May to September, monsoon in Bangladesh brings tropical rains, muddy roads and a kind of shocking humidity that makes clothes stick to the skin. In addition to causing extreme temperatures, the monsoon’s heavy rains fill streets and seep into buildings, turning factories and residential areas into breeding grounds for mosquitoes and water-borne diseases.

Rising temperatures and more frequent flooding events are likely to increase with climate change, and in Bangladesh, this will affect the lives of the four million people working in the garment industry. These employees are disproportionately women. The industry is the largest employer of female workers in Bangladesh. By holding back the industry, climate change could undermine the progressive women’s social and economic achievements that Bangladesh has experienced over the last 30 years. The projections of increasing extreme weather events due to climate change pose a significant future risk for the garment industry.