Viral Video Shows Devastation from Illegal Gold Mining
This video, from the Carnegie Airborne Observatory in Peru, shows just how much illegal gold mining has irrevocably destroyed areas of the Amazon rainforest.
“Deforestation isn’t a strong enough term to describe what’s happening there. It’s truly devastation. It’s as if you put a piece of desert in the middle of the Amazonian rainforest,” says Guido Lombardi, the journalist in the video. Even worse, he explains, the ground there has been poisoned by heavy metal contamination so that new vegetation is unable to grow.
Though Lombardi says 30,000 hectares have been destroyed in the past three years, the latest estimates from the Ministry of the Environment put the number even higher, close to 50,000 hectares, as the rate of destruction continues to increase. Because informal mining is unregulated and takes place deep in remote areas of the Amazon, it’s hard to know just how widespread the activity is. That’s why these helicopter images, and those seen in our film Amazon Gold, are so vital to conservation efforts.
Illegal mining now represents the single greatest threat to the survival of the Amazon, the most biodiverse region on the planet. In the Madre de Dios area, where most of the damage has taken place, the government’s efforts to shut down illegal mining have met with violent protests from miners and others whose livelihood depends on illegal gold.
AAF continues to work with a coalition of government bodies and NGOs to seek a resolution to this complicated issue and protect the remaining acres of Amazon rainforest.