A story by Leo Schwartz from PBS relates how a decade of illegal gold mining in Peru has left a wasteland in the Amazon region.
In the article, published on September 21, they say that near Peru’s border with Brazil, the land is infused with mercury, which has created an environmental disaster.
“In the heart of the Peruvian Amazon lies a man-made desert. It was once pristine rainforest, but a decade of illegal gold mining has transformed it into a wasteland”, the article reads.
The Andean country is the world’s seventh-largest gold producer in the world, but it is estimated that 20% is illegally mined in places like Peru’s Madre de Dios region.
“Gold extraction isn’t illegal everywhere in Madre de Dios but is never allowed inside national reserves or the buffer zones around them. Government officials estimate that as many as 40,000 illegal miners have occupied these areas, clearing trees, digging pits and infusing the ground with mercury”, the article said.
Today, the landscape is poisoned and in February of this year, a state of emergency was declared in Madre de Dios in the “Operation Mercury” led by army troops and police.
“Peru’s part of the Amazon alone makes up the 4th largest tropical rainforest in the world. It’s a biodiversity hotspot, home to species found nowhere else. But the destruction of this precious resource has been accelerating”, Schwartz explained.
Cover Photo Rab.
Now that you're here:
We're asking you, our reader, to make a contribution in support of our digital guide in order to keep informing, updating and inspiring people to visit Peru. Why now? In our near 20-year journey as the leading English-language source on travel in Peru, we've had our fair share of ups and downs-but nothing quite like the challenges brought forth in the first quarter of 2020.
By adapting to the changing face of the tourism and travel industry (on both local and international levels), we have no doubt we will come out stronger-especially with the support of our community. Because you will travel again, and we will be ready to show you the best of Peru.
Your financial support means we can keep sharing the best of Peru through high-quality stories, videos and insights provided by our dedicated team of contributors and editors based in Peru. And of course, We are here to answer your questions and help whenever you need us.
As well, it makes possible our commitment to support local and small businesses that make your visit an unforgettable one. Your support will help the people working in these industries get back on their feet once the world allows us to make our dream of enjoying everything Peru has to offer a reality again-from its mouthwatering gastronomy, thriving Amazon and archaeological wonders such as Machu Picchu.
Together, we will find a way through this. As a member of our community, your contribution, however big or small, is valuable.