My wife and I have traveled to many countries. I always ask: "Where do you get your water?" and "Where does your waste go?" From the answers I can pretty much decide the local priorities.
The most upsetting comparisons were three different trips we took to tributaries of the mighty Amazon River: The Tahuayo in the NW part of Peru was our first trip.
People lived on, in, and around the Tahuayo. They relied on food from it and traveled to school by canoe.
On the Manu River in the SW part of Peru, the scene was similar. People used the river sustainably. They fished and farmed. They brought cows to drink at the water's edge.
Yet on the Tambopata River, also a tributary to the Amazon, life was very different . Most of the communities were far removed from the river's banks. There were still a considerable number of boats, but all motorized. We only saw a few people in the water, usually washing clothes.
There were very few turtles and virtually no one fishing. The big difference here is GOLD DREDGING using MERCURY . We passed at least 12 operations in our four hour boat ride to the Tambopata Research center.
It's so easy to blame these countries that are so impoverished for making obviously unsustainable decisions -- and now of all times Gold is very desirable. But, then I read a recent article in the LA Times: It is here, in my country, too.
"Researchers found mercury in every fish tested in a nationwide stream survey, with some of the higher concentrations showing up in mining areas of the West."
Please think before putting anything in or on the ground, or even in the trash.
It all affects our water. We need to make the difference!