The Kawah Ijen is an active volcano set in the scenic landscape of East Java, Indonesia; hosting one of the largest highly acidic lakes in the world. Every day hundreds of workers venture into the crater with minimal protection, like a mere scarf, to protect against the poisonous gases. These people are putting their lives at risk to mine the sulfur. Workers attempt to prevent inhalation of the putrid sulfur gases by wearing masks. But most of them work without any protection; because when you are in the midst of the smoke, prevention is impossible. The miners work with bare hands, using an iron rod to remove the sulfur. They then face a treacherous climb out of the lake and over the mountains to offload the sulfur at the station, 4km away. All this with as much as 75kg laid across their shoulders in wicker baskets. One person can make this journey only twice a day.
Most of the miners live close-by in the villages around the mountain, some of them stay at the first base camp "Camp Sulfutara", 1km from the crater. A few people sleep within the crater right next to the lake in handmade tents: under sheets of plastic held up by wooden planks. At the end of their hard day's work, the miners get paid approximately 10USD. The mined sulfur is used for vulcanizing rubber, bleaching sugar and industrial processes for the beauty industry around Indonesia.