Galaxies are the birthplace of most stars and black holes. However, scientists are still debating, how galaxies accrete the fuel to sustain their growth, and how they in turn pollute their environment with elements heavier than helium. An international team of astrophysicists has now directly observed the neighborhood of a massive galaxy in the early universe. They find that the gas all around the galaxy is enriched with heavy elements, which means it has been polluted by the galaxy itself and by embedded satellite galaxies. Furthermore, this gas is spiraling onto the massive galaxy, fueling further star formation.