United Arab Emirates – Immediate action is required to counter claims that a ‘hidden’ used clothing industry is ‘largely responsible for the demise of textile production in some parts of Africa’, it was asserted by the BIR textiles division’s general delegate Alan Wheeler at the world recycling organisation’s recent convention in Dubai.
Although this ‘unjustifiable negative publicity’ amounted to nothing but ‘a red herring’, Wheeler emphasised the importance of challenging it. The East African Community (EAC) intergovernmental organisation – comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda – was already pondering a ban on imports of used clothes, shoes and other leather products from outside the region.
And with the matter scheduled to be discussed at an EAC summit later this year, ‘the international textile recycling industry needs to act now’, Wheeler insisted. ‘Through the BIR, we need to actively lobby the EAC, to explain to them why banning imports of used clothing will do nothing to help textile production and will jeopardise employment prospects for millions of people in the region and the economy as a whole.’
A full report covering the BIR event will be featured in Recycling International’s upcoming June/July issue.