We are what we buy. As it turns out, a great deal of the large, affordable fashion chains that we love to frequent are poisoning the water supplies of China, killing fish and poisoning wells. According to a recent report conducted by Envirofriends, the textile industry produced 2.5 billion metric tons of sewage in 2010. This makes garment production the third-largest water polluter in China, coming after farm fertilizer and other pollutants. 

In order to comprehend the major impact of this pollution, consider the fact that there are possibly more Chinese citizens than people live in Canada and the U.S. combined that could be drinking, bathing in, and eating food grown in water containing thousands of toxic textile-production byproducts. 

Unsurprisingly, most American consumers shop at stores that produce the clothing made at these factories. In fact, China manufactures over 50% of all textiles worldwide, so this pollution touches a majority of the globe, both environmentally and socially. While this discovery may seem beyond repair, there are solutions, such as supporting sustainable garments and reaching out to your favorite brands, that can gradually, yet effectively put an end to irresponsible production method.

Read it at Refinery 29.