The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) conducted satellite monitoring and revealed over one and a half thousand kilometers of pollution of the Far Eastern rivers due to the extraction of loose gold.
According to the monitoring conducted on May 15 by the WWF Amur Branch, 42 cases of pollution of water bodies in three Far Eastern regions were detected. The total extent of pollution was 1,510 km.
The water bodies of the Amur Region suffered the most - ecologists recorded 34 cases of pollution there, the total length was 1321 km. Four cases were identified in the Trans-Baikal Territory (length 130 km) and in the Kamchatka Territory (length 59 km).
- In the Kamchatka Territory, plumes of pollution come from platinum mining sites, not gold. However, taking into account the fact that the first enterprises for the extraction of alluvial gold are already entering Kamchatka, the legendary purity of Kamchatka rivers can remain only in the memories of old-timers - however, like fishing. You cannot get valuable fish and gold from the river at the same time, - Alexander Kolotov, Russian coordinator of the Ecological Coalition Rivers Without Borders.
Environmentalists note that most cases of pollution are related to the activities of placer gold mining enterprises.
Irina Lindberg, the head of the green economy department of the WWF Amur branch of Russia, points out that in recent years the number of licenses issued for exploration and production of gold in the Amur basin regions has grown significantly.
- In the Amur Region in 2017 prospectors obtained 81 licenses for activities related to the exploration, prospecting and mining of placer gold, in 2018 - 220, in 2019 - already 258. A similar picture is observed in the Khabarovsk Territory, where the number of licenses issued increased from 25 in 2017 to 77 in 2019, the specialist said.
She also clarified that a license is now issued for those areas where gold mining had not previously been conducted.
Note that the Far Eastern tigers also suffer from gold mining. The authorities of Primorye announced preparations for gold mining in the southern part of the Khabarovsk Territory, where one of the last full-fledged Amur tiger groups in the region is concentrated.