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Peru declares an emergency as oil spill contaminates the Amazon
Nell’oleodotto della compagnia petrolifera Petroperu si sono aperte due falle e il greggio sta contaminando il fiume Marañon, uno dei principali affluenti del Rio delle Amazzoni.
The Amazon River, which crosses some of the world’s most important areas rich in biodiversity, is turning black. In Peru, thousands of barrels of crude oil have been spilled into various waterways in the Amazonian region, causing an unprecedented environmental disaster in the country’s history.
The crude oil has leaked from the pipelines of Peruvian oil company Petro-Perú and contaminated the Marañon River, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon River. Two oil spills have been registered. The first one took place on 25 January and was caused by a landslide that would have damaged the pipelines. The second one occurred on 3 February but the causes are still unknown. Water, plants, animals, and cultivated lands are now covered with by a grim, black layer.
“Current conditions allow declare an environmental emergency in the Marañon basin, at the border with our reserve,” said Alfonso Lopez Tejada, representative of Kukama Kukamiria indigenous people. The company responsible for the disaster has claimed it has been working unrelentingly in order to contain the oil spill, despite the morphology of the area and adverse climate conditions make the cleaning operation harder.
Meanwhile, the Agency for Environmental Assessment and Enforcement (OEFA) is trying to assess the real environmental impact of the incident. About 8,000 people live in the affected area and rely on the rivers that have contaminated by the oil spill.
“Not only we must protect the Amazon forest, but also crops that have been affected,” said Minister for the Environment Manuel Pulgar. “The state-owned company has to be punished with the highest fine”.
The amount of the fine is still not clear, but some say Petroperu will face fines of 17 million dollars. The Peru oil spill took place just a few months after the Brazil dam disaster, where the collapse of two dams caused the spill of tonnes of toxic mud that irreparably contaminated the local ecosystems.
It’s the same old story: crumbling facilities, negligence, authorities’ support and finally fines, which are paid by oil giants without batting an eye. But those fines won’t ever be able to compensate the people, trees, plants, and all animals fallen victim of the disasters.
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