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Mercury poisoning found in Bengawan Solo river, research says

Wonogiri, Ekuatorial – A research on Thursday (26/6) revealed high level of mercury found in Bengawan Solo river due to massive gold mining.

Based on research conducted by University of Sebelas Maret. mercury level in the area has exceeded its standard, which is 0,002 milligrams per liter.

“Mercury level should be 0 in accordance to drinking water standard,” said Pranoto, researcher at the University citing that the level was based on 2004 Government Regulation.

Furthermore, he said that pollution level in the river had reached critical level, especially in Jendi, Keloran, Kepatihan, Nambangan and Sendangijo villages of Wonogiri district.

“Mercury poisoning can lead to massive damages, starting from health, environment, ground water. They all potential to be polluted from hazardous chemicals resulted from [gold] mining,” said Pranato adding that mercury was used to separate gold from other metals.

“After mixed [mercury] with water, they would just throw the contaminated water to the ground or river,” he said. “As a result, they seep into the ground or run through Bengawan Solo river.”

Despite of its toxic content, he said, people in Wonogiri mostly use mercury because of cheap price.

“If water source has been polluted by mercury, it’s not suitable for drinking water, even for other uses,” he said.

No government institutions and parliament members were available to comment on the issue. Bramantyo

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