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The Inertia

Indonesia is a world-famous surfing and tourist destination — especially Bali. The island is often described as one of the most beautiful places on Earth, attracting more than five million tourists each year since 2010. Lesser known is that not even 100km away from paradise is toxic sulfur, smoke rising into the air while miners trade their health for money.

Mount Ijen is a place where sulfur miners work, traveling down a volcano crater where smoke burns their lungs and eyes, all while carrying 70kg of sulfur on their backs. What makes this all supernatural is that they don’t just conquer this challenge once a day. Rather, they make the trek up to four times in one work day.

On a good month, a miner can do all this and make $600 — a relatively good wage in Indonesia, but one that comes with a hefty price tag. Over time, that sulfur smoke and stress of the weight on their back brings a fast decline in health.

In spite of all this, they never let go of their good spirit and are proud to support their families. Meet the sulfur miners of Indonesia who face hell on Earth but persevere every day.

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