Ollanta Humala, the President of Peru, declared a 20-day emergency in the Madre de Dios region in an attempt to curb mercury poisoning from illegal gold mining. Miners searching for gold illegally use mercury to separate rock from ore; they often handle the toxin with their bare hands, breathe it in when it is burned, and dump it into Peruvian rivers, destroying rainforest areas. The Madre de Dios region’s residents have dangerously high levels of mercury in their bodies. Indigenous and rural communities are most vulnerable to the toxins because they are subsistence fishers. The emergency declaration includes a government plan to give uncontaminated fish to Madre de Dios residents, set up mobile health clinics, and implement educational programs. For the full story, see