The Mercury-Disaster in Surinam. Facts and a look in the "Golden Future" of a lost Paradise - Goodbye Suriname - Your "Golden" Future is breaking my heart - your rivers are poisoned - your babies filled with mercury destroying their brains -
A calamitous mix of disastrous environmental activities is the reason of mercury pollution in Suriname
After research in nearly all internet sources there can be no doubt that not only the Amerindian and Maroon population near the goldfields are severely contaminated with mercury but whole Suriname.
There is an extensive and uncontrolled use of mercury in the small scale gold mining which is polluting the Surinamese rivers from the areas of gold mining activities to their mouths in the Atlantic Ocean.
Watch the study from 1997 on this website. (permissible WHO limits are 0.001 mg per liter- Mercury in mg per liter in the Lawa was 3,89, in the Marowijne 1.87, the Tapanahony 0.69, the Saramaka 0.10 and the Suriname 2.97)
Given that this study was carried out in 1997 and it is estimated that an average of 20-30 tons of mercury per year is released into the environment in the interior, levels may be significantly higher today.
All people drinking water from these rivers or eating fish are poisoned, the inhabitants of the capital Paramaribo included.
See the results of a study carried out 2001 by the University of Leiden on mercury contamination in mothers and newborn babies born in a hospital in Paramaribo. The study found levels of mercury far above the average (0,4 and 1,4 mg) found in U.S. citizens. The highest level of 19 mg methyl mercury was found in a newborn baby, leading the researchers to the disturbing conclusion that mercury is accumulated in the foetus through the mother.
That means that mercury caused diseases and deformations will also hit the population in Surinames mainland, especially the capital Paramaribo.
Mercury may cause harmful effects to the nervous, digestive, respiratory, immune systems and to the kidneys, besides causing lung damage. Adverse health effects from mercury exposure can be: tremors, impaired vision and hearing, paralysis, insomnia, emotional instability, developmental deficits during foetal development, and attention deficit and developmental delays during childhood.
In one word: a human disaster is approaching to the Surinamese people.
Mercury is not only released by its use for winning gold. It´s in high levels in Surinamese soil. When washing out the soil by gold mining this mercury amplifies the poisoning effects.
Its known since many years that the Amazon region is rich in soiled mercury. When soil is opened by deforesting activities and even washed out deep like in goldfields, great amounts of mercury are released.
Have a look on the experiences of Brazilian scientists from gold mining in the Brazilian Amazon.
That means that banning mercury from gold mining will not solve the mercury problem in all its extension. Deforestation or building water-reservoirs are causing similar problems.
Emissions of gaseous mercury from biomass burning in an unexpected extension were detected from German scientists. Detailed and extensive measurements were made during long distance flights of an Airbus A340-600 from Lufthansa since December 2004.
See the results in this report.
Watching these results you come to the conclusion that burning activities in the Amazon rainforest are an important source of mercury contamination, too. The high temperatures in this region boost vaporization of mercury as well from the gold miners as from soil.
Result: A calamitous mix of disastrous environmental activities is the reason of mercury pollution in Suriname.