SINGAPORE (Oct 23): The fast fashion industry has been blamed for creating copious mountains of discarded clothes, thereby contributing to the sap on the world’s resources and adding to the strain on the environment and fuelling climate change.

While consumers are conscious of the impact their rapid changes in fashion tastes have on their environment, the majority here in Singapore are not doing their part to limit the damage, according to a survey by DBS.

Karen Ngui, Managing Director and Head of Group Strategic Marketing and Communications at DBS, said that even as the world grapples with the issue of climate change, small changes in behaviour can make a collective difference.

“All of us have a responsibility to do our part be it in big ways or everyday ways. Fashion provides utility, colour and expression to our lives, and by making conscious decisions in our fashion buys, we can improve societal and environmental outcomes,” says Ngui.

“As a purpose-driven organisation, we are also keen to play our part by influencing and galvanising the community that we operate in to make behavioural and consumption changes a reality,” she adds.

According to a DBS survey which has a sample size of 1,060 people, seven in 10 Singaporeans do not ensure that the clothes they buy are sustainably made and sourced, even when 60% of respondents said they were aware that fashion is one of the largest contributors to pollution globally.

When asked to rank the main barriers to them changing their consumption behaviour, 35% of the respondents cited cost, and a quarter of them admit they are apathetic.

However, if given the “right nudge”, seven in 10 respondents will be open to recycling, swapping or upcycling their clothes to play their part in slowing climate change.

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, some 93 billion cubic metres of water - enough to meet the needs of five million people - is used by the fashion industry annually.

Some half a million tons of microfibre, which is the equivalent of 3 million barrels of oil, is now being dumped into the ocean every year.

Every second, the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles is landfilled or burned, estimates the UN agency.