Last month, the Unites States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Washington, DC hosted the Amazon Aid Foundation, as well as representatives from several of the top international NGOs, to view Amazon Gold and discuss the issue of mercury released from informal gold mining. In attendance were members of the Amazon Conservation Association, World Wildlife Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, Oxfam International, the US State Department and the Peace Corps.

All of these groups came together to work towards a single goal: reducing the negative environmental impact of gold mining in the Amazon, particularly mercury contamination. Alluvial gold mining is currently the single largest source of mercury released into the environment worldwide, and the harmful effects to the environment and people have global implications.

Until now, the extent of the problem was not widely known, and work to combat it was small-scale and ineffective. By sharing ideas and expertise between these various groups, Amazon Aid hopes to create sustainable solutions that can serve as a model for other areas and issues as well. The current focus is on measuring the impact of mercury and developing strategies for mitigating its effects, as well as supporting the Peruvian government to enforce international safety and environmental standards.

We’re excited to see real action being taken to stop the harmful effects of illicit and unregulated gold mining in the Amazon rainforest. Stay tuned for more updates!