SOME/WHERE : 'KAWAH IJEN' EAST JAVA, INDONESIA
Composed of hydrochloric acid at a PH of between 0 - 0.5, Kawah Ijen is the largest lake in the world of its kind. The volcano releases sulfur that if seen at night burns with an electric blue flame, combusting in contact with air, a rare phenomena currently only occurring in Iceland and Ijen. Due to Ijen's unusually plentiful oozing of sulfur, a mining company has installed pipes that aids its collection. Within these, sulfur condenses into a bright red and orange liquid
and quickly cools and hardens into vibrant yellow sulfur rocks. Local men carry these rocks weighing between 75 and 90 kg a load, up from the crater and down the mountain slopes till the road, where a truck awaits them - a total two hour walk one way. If they can do the trip twice in a day, they can earn between 100,000 - 150,000 Rupiah (8-11 US$).
'They have no wage, safety equipment or health insurance but are paid by weight for each trip. Most have no protection against toxic fumes. A man I talked to wore flip flops displaying his toes splayed so wide apart that his feet were almost as wide as they were long, flattened from years of pressure. Like
most, he didn't have proper footwear and his build was slight. Now aged, his job was to sit in the crater to attend the pipes. To earn extra cash, he poured hot liquid sulfur into Hello Kitty molds, forming kitsch sulfur-stench souvenirs for tourists. Sulfur is sold to cosmetics and pharmaceutical companies.'