A sinister presence lurks in the still depths and murky shallows where clear, coffee-coloured water once flowed, but sick rivers now struggle, reduced to a gasping, mud-choked mess.

Brewing between the smelly sediment and stinking sandbars, and among the tumbled trunks and bony branches of a stripped, old-growth Amazonian rainforest, it is a gathering threat to all interior inhabitants, especially our vulnerable indigenous communities which traditionally depend on their natural environment for sustenance.

Under the sunlight, a tiny lingering, silvery flash or dot may surface of the strange shape shifter. In Guyana’s hinterland and across other rich areas of South America, acres of trees previously towered. Now, flecks of gold are water-blasted daily from a wasted, pockmarked lunar landscape of slippery pits and stagnant pools, or plucked as a fragment from the constant wash of gravel by the wrinkled fingers of thousands of artisanal miners…..

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