About the Book
In An Acid River Runs Through It, photographer Eva-Lotta Jansson documents how water pollution by mining activities – acid mine drainage - affects water sources and communities in South Africa.
Large volumes of acidic water carrying toxic sulphates and metals such as lead, zinc, copper and radioactive uranium are released into the environment by both past and current mining activities. The poisonous water flows from gold and coal mining sites, largely untreated, into the groundwater and into streams and rivers. These pollutants affect water resources already under strain from water shortages due to global warming and pollution by untreated sewage and other waste water. Acid mine water pollution most directly impacts already disadvantaged people in society, but ultimately threatens everyone's water resources and well-being.
Although toxic, the pollution creates landscapes that are sometimes both colorful and eerily beautiful. Such photographs include a yellow lakebed filled with uranium dust and a white field looking like it’s covered in snow. The photographer focuses on landscapes like these on the ground as well as from the air. In intimate portraits, we also meet communities and individuals who come in direct contact with the pollution. They include the farmers who lost both livestock and loved ones, after they drank poisoned water. We also see children play in a pool of rusty-colored acid mine drainage flowing outside their school gates.
The book includes interviews with both experts and those affected. That makes this a factual photo book, which thoroughly explains what acid mine drainage is. Although the problem plagues many nations, the book analyses - within a historical context - why it’s particularly bad in South Africa. The resulting document portrays an unmitigated environmental disaster and a violation of human rights.
The book includes 64 photographs and about 8,000 words. Copyright © Eva-Lotta Jansson 2015.
**Volume discounts are available.**
Eva-Lotta Jansson is a photojournalist based in Johannesburg, South Africa. She has authored a number of personal photo-documentary essays concerned with post-Apartheid South Africa, including An Acid River Runs Through It, and Women Miners in South Africa. Eva-Lotta does assignment work for news and humanitarian organizations, working both as a photographer and videographer, travelling to surrounding Africa. The photographer’s work often centers around water resources as well as the adverse effects of climate change on various communities and their environments. Eva-Lotta studied journalism at the Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism and photojournalism at the London College of Printing. She is Swedish and a permanent resident of South Africa.