To begin with, there are many issues in Colombia. Let’s take a closer look at one of the major issues that have evolved into many issues. That issue is the illegal mining of gold. The mining is affecting the population with health issues, living space, fear and contaminating natural resources. This issue is significant because it could be a start to end the 52-year long civil war. The civil war hasn’t ended because the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia also known as FARC and the government haven’t agreed on peace.
First, the problem developed when the gold prices rose and the interest of gold also rose. The mining for gold has affected the environment, as machines are digging up riverbeds, and destroying the rainforest around the mines. The mining has also contaminated the water, as miners are putting mercury in the water to help separate the gold particles from other minerals. The mercury is causing many health problems such a tremors to memory loss (News Week). The mining has also caused an increase in conflict in communities similar to when people were smuggling cocaine. Many individuals are using the metal as a currency and are engaging in illicit trade.
Unfortunately, the gold is legal to carry and basically untraceable (Vice News). As there are many issues there have also been attempts to end the illegal actions. Second, the issue of mining has increased levels of violence within the country. As said before it is similar to drug smuggling.
With this increase in conflict, there is an increase in fear within the communities. The fears they have are being removed from their land, being killed or arrested and so thousands have fled their homes. There have also been helicopter raids from the Colombian army on small mining communities (Al Jazeera). Third, the government and FARC have attempted to set a peace deal. Unfortunately, since the two sides couldn’t agree on the vote the peace deal didn’t go through (News Week). One of the long-term effects is an increase in health issues due to the mercury contamination. Another long-term effect related to mercury is that the pollution levels increase; Colombia is second in the world for mercury pollution. A short-term effect is that the people are displaced due to the increase in mining.
As well as a population decrease as many are fleeing their homes. In conclusion, there needs to be a solution to this problem of illegal gold mining. One possible solution is that the government and FARC can come to an agreement of peace to end the civil war. Then the government needs to take control of the illegal actions of mining and trade. Then the government needs to take control of the environmental damage done by the mining; including the mercury pollution. This is a potential solution to the illegal gold mining and the effect that it has had on the country of Colombia.