Silver 2021 / Editorial / Environmental

Black Hole

  • Prizes
    Silver in Editorial/Environmental
  • Photographer
    Alain Schroeder

Globally, fossil fuels are slowly being superseded by cheaper renewable energies, but in Kyrgyzstan coal continues its slow burn.  1100 kilometers and two days of driving separate the mines of Sulukta and Jyrgalan. Neither has a working vertical shaft mine. Instead, I discover horizontal mines, 100 to 500 meters in length. Using explosives, small teams of 3-4 miners advance just one meter every couple of days.  The nefarious effects of burning fossil fuels is best illustrated in the capital, Bishkek which became in 2020 the most polluted city in the world, surpassing New Delhi.