Mining, Mercury and Murder on Colombia’s River with Rights

Date: 10 October 2019

Choco has one of the most diverse ecosystems globally, with an estimated 54,850 animal species in Choco’s dense jungle. But open-pit mining operations and large-scale deforestation could destroy the habitat. Communities face mercury and cyanide contamination from industrial mining activities, which has turned the Atrato River into the most polluted river in Colombia. Though a clean-up was promised back in 2016, a clean-up operation still hasn’t emerged. As the state fails to fulfill its legal obligations, the ethnic communities along Choco’s main waterway fight for a river that remains central to their identity and survival.

Video by Melisa Valenzuela and Frederick Gillingham.

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