Wednesday 16th June 2021

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  • Illegal gold mining at “epidemic” levels in Amazon forest



    Illegal gold mining in the Amazon has reached “epidemic” proportions in recent years, causing serious damage to pristine forest and waterways, a conservation group said on Monday as it released an unprecedented new map of the activities.



    “Illegal mining in the Amazon, notably in indigenous tribal territories and protected nature zones, has increased exponentially these past years because of the rising price of gold,” said Beto Ricaro, a Brazilian anthropologist who coordinated the cartography done by the Amazon Socio-Environmental, Geo-referenced Information Project (RAISG).




    The map put out by the group showed 2,312 illegal sites in 245 zones in Venezuela, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru – all countries across which the vast Amazon forest is spread.




    The Amazon River basin is home to perhaps a quarter of the world’s terrestrial species. The trees here are the engines of about 15 percent of photosynthesis that occurs on land. And numerous species, including plants and insects, have yet to be identified.




    Ricardo said the illegal operations destroyed the forest through clearing, polluted rivers with mercury, and threatened the survival of some indigenous communities.

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