The Amazon shines like gold, but the explanation for this phenomenon cannot be blacker


One of NASA’s astronauts filmed a very unusual scene that spread with lightning speed across all social networks. The photo was taken from the International Space Station, and the Peruvian river Amazon can be seen on it, “painted” in gold.

The main assumption is that the “golden” river, which passes through the Amazon rainforest “Madre de Dios”, is in fact a reflection of the uncontrolled work of independent miners who dug so many pits looking for gold that only desolation remained after them.

Allegedly, the pits shown in the photos were dug to find gold and after that they were left unburied, which led the astronaut to take a clear photo of the consequences of uncontrolled digging in this area due to the reflection of sunlight. An ordinary observer with a camera would not be able to take a photo like this, which is why it is assumed that he is a member of the crew of NASA’s station and decided to share this photo with the world.

According to NASA, independent gold mining supports tens of thousands of people in the “Madre de Dios” region, which makes it one of the largest unregistered mining industries in the world. The mercury used to extract gold pollutes waterways, as seen in the picture – the Inambari River is surrounded by numerous pits and parts of muddy soil.

The Center for Amazon Scientific Innovations at Wake Forest University conducted research which states that deforestation in 2018 “broke” the infamous record from 2017, when miners cut down 22,635 hectares of forest in search of gold. In January 2019, a study revealed that the felling of trees destroyed about 22,930 hectares of the Peruvian Amazon due to the demand for gold.

Mining is the biggest driver of deforestation in the region, and gold exploration in the region has expanded since the opening of the Southern Inter-Ocean Highway in 2011, making the area more accessible. The opening of the highway was supposed to encourage trade and tourism, but the situation developed differently.

The untouched part of the Amazon area is inhabited by monkeys, jaguars and butterflies and belongs to the Tambopata National Nature Reserve, which is protected from mining. However, hundreds of square kilometers of rainforest outside the area have been turned into poisonous desolation without trees.

Rising gold prices, in recent years, have led to the creation of entire cities in the jungle, and tens of thousands of people from all over Peru have joined the modern gold rush.

Jovana Canić

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