Skip to main content

At the end of the rainbow of our clothes

Stories and News No. 1318

Here Africa, where it all began.
And, now, also the end.
Precisely we are at the clothing market of Kantamanto, in Accra, Ghana.
You know, right? Those narrow, crowded streets between all the same stalls covered with piles of clothes. Pants, T-shirts and jackets of any fabric. But above all style and color, according to the fashions and tastes of the moment.
A sort of rainbow that like a snake winds its way across our planet from one point to another of the latter, instead of across the sky.
Maybe that's why in the end there is no treasure to be found.
It is the same old scaffolding which the story of humanity that we have chosen to interpret rests on, whose moral, for those who live on the opposite extreme, is bitter to say the least.
Meanwhile, life proceeds indifferently going up the unfair current in reverse.
Anyone of us, on the side where dressing is a way of expressing the personality or mood of the moment - instead of just a mere protection from bad weather or personal privacy - has at least once crossed those avenues full of patrons with hands exploring mountains of colorful fabrics in search of the best deal.
The show that satisfies actors and customers must go on, but when the curtain closes in our world, what remains must be disposed of and this must be done as far away as possible from our demanding yet vulnerable senses, in addition to the more prosaic money pockets.
It is true for everything, and even clothes follow the same fate.
The rags, we could define them, or more tactfully that shirt that no one wears anymore, the pants whose rips on the knees are no longer age-appropriate, the shirt you can't close, damn pasta, and so on.
Whether it's through the albeit laudable used clothes collector or the large waste that the multinationals of the dress get rid of, the story suddenly stops. The problem is solved, the negligible characters leave the scene like the useless objects and let’s go with the various sequels of the main story.
But that's not to say there isn't still life out there, where the aforementioned colorful snake goes to die away from our eyes like elephants do.
That is, I should say where it is sent to die.
It is a sentence, never a choice.
Here Africa, then.
Where everything began, everything and everyone, even us.
And where what you had and used now has an end.
As with clothing, yes, but we could leave this unworthy story intact by limiting ourselves to changing goods: the crime is always the same, the one that forces the inhabitants of Accra, submerged in our old clothes, to put 100 tons aside every day. Nearly 3 million items arriving at the Kantamanto market are discarded every week.
These days some Ghanaian traders are in Brussels to put pressure on the European Union, so that those accountable take responsibility for what has been happening for decades. Because this not only impoverishes the population more and more, whose debts increase year by year, but the unsustainable growth of waste, with illegal landfills now overcrowded, causes it to end up in improvised ditches and drains, releasing dyes into the sea and rivers, and covering the beaches with vast tangles of clothing.
There is a real environmental catastrophe, as well as the ruin of the only means of livelihood for many, namely fishing.
Here's what's at the end of the rainbow...

Subscribe to Newsletter