Environmental problems in Surinam
Mining: Suriname as part of the Guiana Shield and the dense Amazon rainforest, knows many environmental problems even though we have a small population of only 600.000 people.
Because more than 70% of all people live in the coastal area, the forest is almost not populated except for some Amerindian villages and other tribal villages with descendants of run away slaves. For some a blessing but for most a curse as we look at the alluvial gold in our forest and creeks. Mining in our rainforest causes many environmental problems like deforestation, land degradation, water pollution, soil pollution and food pollution and many other economic and social disturbances for people living in and from the forest. The use of both mercury and cyanide causes many health risks for animals and humans.
Logging: Heavy logging for export is being fueled by structural corruption in our country. Many foreign companies have access to our forest while our institution for forestry (SBB) is not equipped to manage and monitoring the forest. Illegal but also legal logging is now a big problem. New logging roads in primary forest give access to gold miners making the destruction complete
Poaching endangered species: poaching of marine turtle eggs for consumption, killing wild cats like our Jaguar and Ocelot for Chinese medicines are some of our problems giving grave concern about our wild life. Wild life trade via= Suriname is now also a growing concern and no treaty seems to stop these lucrative businesses.
Plastic: As in many other countries we also cope with the burden of plastic pollution. Our government has no structural waste management and it seems that it is not in their interest either. Almost all plastic ends up in a waste dump somewhere in the forest or in the rivers.
Mercury: Mercury causes many long-term health risks and health problems not only in our forest . Many gold shops in town buy raw gold from miners and they purify the gold from mercury by burning it. These toxic vapours are a serious health risk for people living in the vicinity of these gold shops in Paramaribo. Mercury causes nerve and wide-spread organ damage ending with kidney failure. Children and pregnant women are our biggest concern with mercury pollution.
Oil production and Oil refinery: The Guiana's, Brasil and Venezuela have big oil reserves in their coastal and marine area's. Big concerns do we have because for our mangrove forest for natural coastal defence. An oil spill can choke and kill hundreds of sqaure kilometers of mangrove forest, exposing our low coasal zone to rising sea levels the waves and strong Guiana ocean current. Other concerns are soil, water and air pollution (H2S).
Ending 100 years Bauxite mining: Many concerns we have for the old bauxite refinery plant area in the Para district, polluted with bauxite residue with heavy metals and radiation. Also testimonies of old Suralco/Alcoa employees about the dump of many containers with foreign toxic and nuclear waste in this district also known as our drinking water district because almost all our drinking water is from this district. PROBIOS has demanded a total inventory of these toxic dumps and cleanup before Alcoa leaves Suriname.