In “A Rumble in the Jungle” New York Times Op-Ed Contributors Nathan K. Lujan, Devin D. Bloom and Cynthia Watson articulate “the awful truths of gold mining” that are glossed over in reality T.V. shows like Bamazon. Highlighting the intricate ecosystem within the Amazon, this article points to what we as humans identify most with: “the increasing levels of mercury (used to sift for and collect gold flecks) that naturally collect in fish…which over time could cause cancer and lead to birth defects.”
The cycle goes something like this: gold miners in the Amazon use mercury to find gold. Mercury naturally binds to gold and is much easier to sift for once solidified. After being sifted, the mercury is burned off to reveal the gold it has collected around. The mercury is then, in most cases, dumped back into the river system where it collects within fish. Human then eat that fish and the mercury enters their body, causing multiple health issues, all for the price of gold. AAF currently anticipates the official publishing of research conducted by Stanford scientist Luis Fernandez on the increased levels of mercury in Amazonian children and adults, thought to be double the toxic level. In the mean time, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is setting the floor for a treaty which, as Achim Steiner, Under Secretary of the UNEP states it, would “catalyze and drive concerted international action on [this] environmental and human health issue.” His recent report presents updates from the UNEP’s Global Mercury Assessment 2013. A summary of this article can be found at the United Nations New Centre.
For the full “A Rumble in the Jungle” article visit: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/18/opinion/a-rumble-in-the-jungle.html?_r=1&