El Paso, Texas used to be the blue jean capital of the world. Today, there remains a small base of production, but nothing in comparison to it’s former self nor the scale of industrial pollution that occurs in Xiantang today. The RiverBlue team learnt that the reason jean manufacturers left El Paso was due to the signing of the North America Free Trade Agreement by Mexico, USA and Canada. When NAFTA was signed, the various jeans manufacturers took their production primarily to Mexico where the labour was cheaper and the pollution controls and laws were much more lenient. From here, the big brands continued to move their production overseas to South East Asia where the labour is even cheaper and there are next to no environmental controls. Today El Paso is a shell of it’s former self, even the mighty Rio Grande was non-existent in places, dried up and gone.