Dam project proves power of science crowdfunding

The success of the campaign shows that the general public cares about science, and it sends a powerful message to the government.

damJust weeks after two dams collapsed in Brazil, releasing a flood of toxic mining waste, a crowdfunding campaign to pay for an independent environmental report into the disaster’s impact has exceeded its target.

“This is one of the biggest environmental disasters that ever happened in Brazil, involving rivers and local populations,” says the crowdfunding page of the researchers behind the campaign, which asked the public to pay what they could.

The dams, owned by mining companies Vale and BHP Billiton, burst on 5 November, killing at least 11, leaving 12 missing and 750 homeless, and contaminating the waters of the Rio Doce.

“Considering the vague response of the public institutions and the economic power of the parties involved, it is extremely important to have an independent and impartial report,” the researchers add. So far, the campaign has raised 144 per cent of its 50,000 real (US$13,300) target.

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