What is Organic Cotton?
Organic cotton is grown without toxic chemicals and synthetic fertilisers. It also means that plants can’t be genetically modified. All this sounds great right?
Well…not using these toxic pesticides, synthetic fertilisers & genetic modification has big downstream impacts because plants produce a lower yield.
What are the downstream effects?
1. Production requires a lot more land.
Conservative estimates are up to 25% more land is needed for organic cotton compared to conventional cotton. Where does more than come from? Clearing of native vegetation like bush land, forrest and jungles. And with deforestation comes global warming, biodiversity loss, acidification of soils.
2. Insane water usage.
Organic cotton crops aren't genetically enhanced to produce more yield, so it means much higher volumes of water are needed to produce the same amount of cotton.
It takes around 40,000 litres of water to produce just 1 Kilogram of organically grown cotton.
3. Natural pesticides are still harmful.
Organic cotton farmers use natural pesticides, insecticides, and fertilisers. Even though they are organic, they can be harmful too. Some of these might be even more toxic than synthetic ones.
It’s important to remember that just because something’s natural (comes from nature) doesn’t mean it’s entirely harmless.
Take manure, for example. It’s a natural fertiliser used by humans for thousands of years. But it’s still animal poop! It can certainly be harmful to the workers’ health.