Taxonomy term

september 2008

Mapping safer drinking water

Beginning in the 1970s, international aid agencies dug hundreds of thousands of wells in Bangladesh to help people access clean drinking water. The effort curbed diarrheal diseases, but it led to a new problem: arsenic poisoning.

Arsenic occurs naturally in some rocks, including formations throughout the Himalayas. When these rocks weather, the groundwater can become contaminated with arsenic. At high doses, arsenic is lethal. But even small doses can cause cancer and other health problems over time.

28 Aug 2008

Bolivia turns iron mountain into gold

In the heart of Bolivia’s tropics lies a mountain known as El Mutún. The mountain doesn’t look exceptional, but beneath its lush cover of vegetation lie 40 billion tons of iron ore — the world’s largest deposit. Although El Mutún’s riches have been known for more than 150 years, its remoteness and inaccessibility kept it safe from development — until now.  

26 Aug 2008

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