In Peru. In the Guianas. In Brazil's Amazonian states of Amapá and Pará.
The blight is illegal gold mining, and it's imperiling ever-greater swaths of the world's greatest rainforest.
ALERT has reported on illegal gold mining in the world's rainforests before -- see here, here, and here -- but it is a story worth repeating, because it is an environmental crisis that continues to escalate. In Peru, for example, the pace of forest destruction from illegal mining has tripled since 2008.
In the Amazon, as elsewhere, gold mining doesn't just threaten rainforests. It is a severe threat to aquatic ecosystems, drowning streams and rivers with dense sediments and toxic mercury.
The mercury builds up in aquatic food chains -- increasing from aquatic plants to small animals to fish to larger predators -- with some Amazonian people now having 14 times the accepted level of mercury in their bloodstreams.
As gold mining expands, so does its threat to indigenous peoples -- such as the Yanomami tribes in northern Brazil, the Kayapo people in the southern Brazilian Amazon, and many other remote tribes in Peruvian Amazonia.