SHADMIA'S WORLD

Just Another Guy with Opinions

Amazon Gold Rush Destroying Peruvian Rain Forest

Posted by shadmia on June 12, 2011

A gold rush that accelerated with the onset of the 2008 global recession is compounding the woes of the Amazon basin, laying waste to Peruvian rain forest and spilling tons of toxic mercury into the air and water. An army of small-scale miners in the state of Madre de Dios has swelled to some 40,000.

“Extracting an ounce of gold costs from $400 to $500 and the profit is $1,000 per ounce,” notes Peru’s environment minister, Antonio Brack. In just a decade, gold has more than tripled in value.

Government controls are mostly futile.

“We found that nearly all the public officials in Puerto Maldonado were involved,” the minister said. “In 2010, the regional mining director had a mining company. His No. 2 had one. His wife had one. His sister had one (as did) the sister of the No. 2. They were all in it. And you think anyone is going to regulate anything?”

The entire article on the situation can be found here. It is worthwhile reading.

This is a tragedy just waiting to unfold. I can understand the need to make a living and support a family (most of us go through this every day) and want a better future, but at what cost to your own personal health and the environmen­t.

These workers are suffering a slow death. The environmen­t is being destroyed and the authoritie­s are at least turning a blind eye to the situation and at worst profiting from it. There was also a brief mention of possibly indigenous and uncontacte­d tribes living nearby. Are their habitats and life style also being adversely affected?

I know it is easy to sit in an comfortable chair with a computer in hand and judge people and their actions thousands of miles away but maybe if the demand (and price) for gold wasn’t so high then there would be less incentive to engage in practices detrimenta­l to human health and the environmen­t.

Just something to think about the next time we are in a jewelry store marveling at how nice that necklace, chain or ring would compliment our evening attire. We are as much to blame as anyone else.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

2 Responses to “Amazon Gold Rush Destroying Peruvian Rain Forest”

  1. […] Amazon Gold Rush Destroying Peruvian Rain Forest (shadmia.wordpress.com) […]

  2. This incredible article in the Telegraph runs down the horrors associated with the ongoing gold and lumber rush in the Madre de Dios region of Peru. Environmental devastation, mercury contamination in the Amazon headwaters, cultural dislocation, hard work for limited pay. Unlike most English language articles I’ve seen on the subject, the remarkable Alfonso Daniels actually stops and talks with several of the people most painfully affected by the world’s lust for yellow metal and Peru’s tolerance for the mining camps. He has infuriating quotes from a cop who has been intimidated into inaction, from the ineffectual environment minister, and from a mining union leader. But the most stomach-churning material is when he talks to Teresa, a 14-year-old girl who has been lured to the jungle for a restaurant job and then put to work in a brothel.

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