October 14, 2008--
The Tuul River winds its way through northern Mongolia
in an undated photo.
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The 437-mile (704-kilometer) artery is just one of many rivers environmentalists say are being destroyed by a booming mining industry in the resource-rich central Asian country.
Gold and other mineral extraction methods, including dredging, river diversions, and the use of high-pressure water cannons to dismantle hillsides, have damaged rural landscapes and local lifestyles along the river.
The Tuul River Basin covers just over 3 percent of the country, yet supports nearly half of Mongolia's 2.6 million residentsmany of whom depend on river water for drinking, sanitation, and agriculture.
Photograph by Ted Wood/Aurora/Getty Images