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Brazil’s Tapajos river is polluted with illegal gold mining
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Brazil’s Tapajos river is polluted with illegal gold mining

Federal prosecutors and environmental advocates said Monday that the Tapajos, Brazil’s largest clearwater river and most likely due to the mud, sentiments and increased illegal gold mining. Tapajos, once called the “Blue River” for its pristine waters and clear waters, has been flooded with gold miners since 2019, when world prices rose and environmental enforcement failed under Brazil’s far-right government.

Illegal miners use machines to dig pits and knock down trees, and dredging boats that vacuum river beds, sucking up water as they search out gold. Aerial photographs show chocolate-colored water flowing down the Tapajos and out to the Amazon river.

The silt in water has prevented bathers from going to Alter do Chao’s white sandbanks. Alter do Chao is a popular resort in lower Tapajos. This tributary flows 1,300 miles (2.100 km) to Amazon. Gustavo Alcantara, the Prosecutor, said that his office has estimated that seven millions tonnes of sediment are being dumped into the Tapajos every year by illegal miners. He called on federal and state environmental agencies, to investigate the ways in which illegal gold mining is contaminating the river.

Satellite data shows the rapid increase of gold mining activity in the region. MapBiomas is a nongovernmental organization that tracks land usage and deforestation in Brazil. Cesar Diniz, MapBiomas geographer, stated that illegal mining is one of the main causes for the murky waters. It is done on the Tapajos’ tributaries and the sediment flows into them.

He said, “It is a fact: The mining contributed to the muddying Tapajos in the recent years.”

(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff. It is generated automatically from a syndicated feed.

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