Brazil’s clearwater river polluted by illegal gold mining

The browning of the Tapajos, one of Brazil's largest clearwater rivers, is owed to the mud and sentiments from illegal gold mining, federal prosecutors and environmental activists said on Monday.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - Once called the "Blue River" because of its pristine condition and clear waters, the Tapajos has drawn a rush of gold miners since 2019 as world prices soared and environmental enforcement faltered under Brazil's far-right government.

Illegal miners use mechanical shovels to knock down trees and dig pits, and dredging barges that vacuum river beds, sucking up mud and water as they search for gold.

Chocolate-colored water can be seen for hundreds of kilometers in aerial photographs, flowing out of tributaries and down the Tapajos to its confluence with the Amazon river.

The . . .

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