Immediate action is being demanded to stop an aquatic gold rush along one of the Amazon river’s largest tributaries as hundreds of dredging rafts operated by illegal miners have gathered on a lookout for a precious metal.
'No less than 300 rafts'
"We counted no less than 300 rafts. They've been there at least two weeks and the government has done nothing," said Greenpeace Brazil activist Danicley Aguiar. The gold rush began after global leaders gathered for a UN climate conference in Glasgow, where Brazil vowed it had stepped up protection of the Amazon rainforest.
A satellite image
The dredging rafts have floated downriver from the Humaita area, where there has been a surge in illegal gold mining.
A spokesperson for Brazil's environmental protection agency Ibama said that the illegal dredging on the Madeira river was the responsibility of Amazonas state and its environmental agency IPAAM.
'An epidemic in the Amazon'
The Federal police said it was looking at the best way to deal with the problem. "It's a free-for-all. None of the authorities are doing anything to stop illegal mining, which has become an epidemic in the Amazon," Aguiar said.