A suspected leak of heavy metals from a mine in Angola is causing an “unprecedented environmental catastrophe,” affecting some 2 million people in neighboring Congo, researchers at Kinshasa University said Friday.
Analysis of satellite imagery and interviews indicate that a reservoir used to store mining pollutants was breached July 15 in a diamond-mining area in northern Angola, said Raphael Tshimanga, director of the Congo Basin Water Resources Research Center. Two tributaries of the Congo River — the Tshikapa and Kasai — turned red, killing fish and killing fish and causing diarrhea in nearby communities, he said. Hippo deaths have also been reported.
“We have never seen such huge pollution in the Congo River,” Tshimanga said.
An Angolan Mines Ministry official did not respond to a request for comment.
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