Stop Polluting Rivers with Illegal Mining

gold mine children

Target: President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo

Goal: Stop illegal gold mining in Indonesia that results in mercury pollution and deforestation.

Indonesia is suffering from mercury pollution where gold miners in the island of Borneo seek their fortunes at the expense of their environment. While gold mining is illegal, many citizens continue stripping the land. Urge President Joko Widodo to crack down on this exploitation of the environment and provide the citizens with safer means to earn money.

Extracting gold in any part of the world is a risky and dangerous endeavor. It often requires the use of mercury, which has been incorrectly disposed of in our rivers and oceans. Mercury is extremely toxic to life forms, and when it is dumped into our rivers, it not only pollutes the water we rely on, but the animals that swim and live in it.

The villages of Tumbang Tariak and Tumbang Miwan engage in gold mining, where they are not only exposing themselves to mercury poisoning, but lack the proper equipment and attire for this job. These people are using mercury to extract gold from the dirt in the land, and the waste is dumped into the rivers. With over 10,000 people searching for a gold nugget in the island alone, the results are catastrophic. The trees are gone, and the land has been stripped bare of foliage. Instead, a murky and poisonous swamp is left, and white powder lines the banks.

All of this damage is done to find gold. In Indonesia, one gram of gold is worth $28 dollars, but as profitable as gold is, it is not worth tearing up the environment to do so. Indonesia is one of the most vulnerable nations to climate change, and its history of deforestation will only hurt the country more. Implore President Joko Widodo to stop this illegal activity and provide citizens with jobs that will not harm the environment or their bodies.


Dear President Joko Widodo,

I find it deeply concerning that Indonesian citizens are taking up gold mining as their profession. This dangerous job not only harms the bodies of these workers, but it is ruining your nation’s landscape. Mercury poisoning is a serious condition, as it can permanently damage the nervous system. Workers in Borneo are not wearing the proper attire when they mine gold, and they are not properly disposing of the waste.

The United States has seen what mercury poisoning does to our environment. Our rivers are still poisoned, as can be seen in not just our water, but in our fish as well. All humans depend on water, yet your water sources are being continuously polluted. I implore you to stop this illegal activity and give your citizens jobs that will get them out of harm’s way and keep the environment clean.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Global Environmental Facility via Flickr

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