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.