The Pearl River is the lifeblood of the "world’s factory floor," thousands of factories that produce the world’s toys, mobile phones, computers, textiles and more.
It is also the blue jean capital of the world.
The township of Xintang, nestled in the northeastern part of the river delta, is an amalgamation of textile, denim and dyeing facilities. Inside, workers snap buttons on jeans so fast you can barely see their hands move.
The Chinese government estimates Xintang produces 200 million pairs of jeans per year, including 60 different foreign brands. That is just under half of the 450 million pairs of jeans sold annually in the US.
What blue-jean clad consumers everywhere probably don’t realize is the process by which denim is made may be poisoning China’s water supply.
Amanpour reports that environmentalists say the biggest problem is that industrial pollution in a river as big as the Pearl can poison the entire ecosystem and put the people who live in it at risk.