Kalimantan: devastating pollution from the wild gold mining

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Kalimantan: devastating pollution from the wild gold mining

Kalimantan, in most languages ​​of the world, is a term that refers to the Indonesian part of the island of Borneo, while for Indonesians, the name Kalimantan usually refers to the whole island of Borneo.

The Indonesian territory constitutes about 3 quarters of the whole island, and the non-Indonesian part consists of Brunei and East Malaysia (states of Sabah and Sarawak). Historically, Kalimantan was dominated by the sultanate of Sambas, which thanks to a vast and powerful army managed to conquer all the neighboring states by the eighteenth century.

It then fell under the Dutch protectorate in 1802 The Indonesian province of Kalimantan has been contaminated for years by the effects of wild gold mining. Miners use mercury for the rudimentary gold smelting process, releasing - as another study shows - up to 1,000 tons of chemicals into the air every year.

Mercury is also poured into the waterways of the area, and studies carried out in 2008 on the Kahayan River found traces of mercury in quantities greater than double the Indonesian standard (1000 ng / l) useful for classifying a watercourse as drinkable.

Video by TracingThought

Citarum, the most polluted river in the world

The most polluted river in the world is found in Indonesia: it is the Citarum, on the island of Java. Its level of contamination is five thousand times higher than the permissible one.

The lack of sewage and waste collection systems in the surrounding villages has meant that this waterway was filled with sewage, plastic, dangerous chemicals and garbage of all kinds. All factors that cause the death of thousands of people, flora and fauna every year.

The Citarum River can be effectively reclaimed through the use of multiple strategies which, however, require time and money. Despite the alarming pollution, the river plays an important role in the life of the inhabitants of the region and is used for agriculture and industry.

On December 5, 2008, the Asian Development Bank approved a $ 500 million loan to clean up the river. However, the revitalization only began in November 2011, with an estimated cost of around $ 4 billion, over a distance of more than 180 kilometers that runs through three different cities in the region.

Approximately 20,000 tons of waste and 340,000 tons of wastewater are discharged directly into the river every day, with around 2,000 industrial sites responsible for environmental damage on a devastating scale. Environmentalists have observed that over 20,000 tons of waste and 340,000 tons of wastewater from those textile factories are disposed into the river on a daily basis.

A result of this pollution has been the elimination of a significant part of the river's fish population estimated at 60% since 2008 Citarum is highly toxic and deadly, its waters are rich in mercury, lead and arsenic and present great dangers to human health.

There are areas where you can't even see the water for all the rubbish and dead animals floating on the surface. The river flows in the northwest area of Java with a predominantly tropical monsoon climate. The annual average temperature in the area is 24 °C.

The warmest month is May, when the average temperature is around 26 °C, and the coldest is January, at 22 °C. The average annual rainfall is 2646 mm. The wettest month is January, with an average of 668 mm rainfall, and the driest month is September, with 14 mm rainfall.