Matilde Gattoni: Death Metal
Lost in the Indian Ocean, the tiny Indonesian island of Bangka provides 30 percent of the world tin, a vital metal for assembling electronic products. Fed by the global hunger for smartphones and tablets, illegal tin mining has now turned this once tropical paradise into a hell on earth, causing environmental destruction and a neverending stream of deaths.
Every year, up to 100 miners lose their life drowned under the sea or buried alive by landslides in their desperate quest for tin. Some of them are children as young as five.
Bangka’s tropical forests have been devastated by thousands of moon-like mining pits, full of acidic water contaminated with heavy metals. Offshore mining has already killed 60 percent of the local coral reef, destroying the livelihood of local fishermen and harming the tourism industry.
Before it’s too late, an environmental group is calling top smartphone brands like Samsung and Apple to action, asking them to take responsibility for the environmental situation in Bangka and spearhead a campaign to improve transparency in their tin supply chain.