How Bolivia’s gold rush is poisoning Indigenous communities


Apolinar Ocampo with his wife Cristina Torres and their children in the Esse Ejja community of Eyiyo Quibo, Bolivia

Dan Collyns

The river Beni, which springs from the highlands of La Paz in Bolivia and snakes down into the Amazon basin, is the lifeblood of the Esse Ejja community. “We eat all kinds of fish, big or small, every day,” says Apolinar Ocampo. “We don’t have anything else to eat.” But the fish they catch are poisoning them.

Mercury is key to alluvial gold mining, a practice that is booming in Bolivia.…

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