Can you imagine yourself carrying 90 kgs of sulfur three to four kilometers away from the mining area everyday?
Nope, I don’t think so.
In Java, Indonesia, miners put their lives in danger in order to collect sulfur at the Kawah Ijen Volcano. These miners place long pipes to allow the liquid sulfur to drip out of the volcano and solidify once it comes in contact with the air. There is smoke almost everywhere in this place. Using crowbars and metal poles, they break off huge chunks of solidified sulfur and place them in baskets using only their hands. They carry these baskets down to the base of the volcano twice (or thrice a day) to earn $8-15 each day.
Source: AP Archives
The sulfur collected is commonly used for different manufacturing companies such as production of batteries, sugar, cosmetics and insecticides.
The working environment in this mining site is so dangerous that the average life expectancy of a miner only reaches up to 50 years old. Lack of personal protective equipments may contribute to the poor health of these miners. It has been reported that around 70 miners have died in the past four decades due to work-related accidents.
Source: Jiri VonDrak
If you reach the age of 70 working here, consider yourself lucky.
How about this: Can you imagine yourself taking a dip in the largest (very) acidic lake on Earth? Of course not! Nobody in his right mind would swim in a pond with a pH of 0.5.
Inside the volcano, a sulfuric acid lake can be found in the middle of the crater. This lake is said to be highly acidic that the pH obtained is around 0.13 – 0.5. What makes it more interesting is the turquoise color of the lake, which makes the place look very picturesque.
If you want to know how dangerous this lake can be, imagine a tin can soaked in the lake. It can be easily dissolved in less than thirty minutes. Now, imagine yourself swimming in the lake for thirty minutes. Nope, just don’t.
Despite its hazardous environment, the Kawah Ijen Volcano attracts a lot of tourists daily.
You must be thinking, why would anybody want to go to ‘hell’?
This volcano, despite its terrible working conditions, produces a bright blue glow (only obvious when seen during night time) due to the reaction of the sulfuric gases emerging at high pressure and the air at a temperature of 360oC. At night, this sight would leave anyone at awe.
So, if you still want to visit this place, go ahead. Be very careful though. Avoid taking selfies.