Environmental affairs magazine, the Ecologist, recently visited Bangladesh on a hunt to find out more about where our high street leather goods are sourced from and why, reportably tens of thousands of people are taken ill each year from the effects of chemicals used to tan the leather.

Environmentalists and scientists are concerned that the tanneries that line the Buriganga River which runs through Dakar are sewing up to 300 different chemical pollutants into the areas primary water source. Thousands of people use the river's water to bathe and cook with. The visible effects the industrial waste from the leather tanneries is having on the people and the waterways are frightening. Skin diseases, internal organ damage and chronic breathing difficulties are a few of the effects. According to the Ecologist, doctors estimate that 90% of the workers in the tanneries will be dead by the time they are fifty due to over exposure to the chemicals used.

With millions of pounds worth of leather exported from Bangladesh to the EU every year it's scary to think some of the leather goods stashed away in the wardrobe may very likely be originally sourced from these killer leather factories. Be it shoes, bags, belts or other fashion fury leather items you might want to double think your next vegan unfriendly purchase. Alternatives, like the tree tap rubber bag by Bags of Change are affordable, eco friendly and just as gorgeous alternatives. Greenshoes.co.uk also has environmentally friendly plant tanned leather and vegan style boots, belts and bags. Oh and Terra Plana make gorgeous eco shoes too!