Monday, November 11, 2013

Gold Mining and Peru's Rainforest

The Peruvian Amazon rainforest is the home of a diverse number of plants, fish, birds, mammals, reptile and amphibians. It is also a place that is visited by tourists from around the world. The Amazon rainforest produces around 20% of the planet's oxygen, and it absorbs carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses. Gold mining is affecting the rainforest in Peru, destroying the habitat of a diverse number of plants and animals.
Years of illegal gold mining have affected the Amazon rainforest in Peru. The Carnegie Institution of Science and Peru’s Minister of the Environment, using satellite images were able to map and know the extent of the damage caused by gold mining. They discover that this process affects the water of the area, because it contaminates the water with mercury, which is used to extract the gold from the soil. This is so important becaue  “twice the size of California, the Peruvian Amazon is one of the largest surviving stretches of tropical rainforest anywhere on Earth”.
  With the increase in the price of gold in 2008, the number of small miners in the Amazon has increased significantly. Some of the miners are local poor people that do this type of job in order to support their families, and others are rich businessmen that use expensive equipment in order to extract the gold from the mine.
Until 2008, Peru's mining regulation decisions were all made by the Ministry of Energy and Mines — a clear "conflict of interest." Around 50,000 small-scale miners in Peru are mining without permits or any government regulation…”  Because of conflicts of interest in the policies of Peru, I think that an international organization that cares about the environment should try to impose some type of control of the situation and implement stronger regulations. If we don’t take care of the problem now, we are going to be affected in the future with environmental consequences.
Justin Catanoso, a journalist who recently was in the Peruvian rainforest, proposed a solution. He said that richer countries should work together on an international level in order to pay countries that have diverse and important forests that have not been touched. In my opinion countries should think about the future not only about the present, because what is happening on the Amazon rainforest in Peru is going to affect us in the future when climate change continues to increase in a dangerous way.
--Josmayre Soler

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