We all remember the Amazon rainforest burning in August. Sadly, it still is. Although there are not as many fires as there were in August and September, Brazil is still burning with a record number of forest fires. Unfortunately, the country now has yet another environmental crisis on its hands.
Over 100 tons of crude oil have spilled into the ocean and are washing up onto the coast of Brazil since September. It has been reported that 132 beaches and nine northeastern states have this black sludge washing up onto the shore. Petrobras, Brazil’s oil company, has denied involvement in the contamination of the Atlantic. After testing, researchers announced that the crude is too thick to be from Petrobras. Experts have said that the oil is neither from or even exported, into the country. However, Petrobras has still promised 100 employees to help with the cleanup. The rest is up to the country’s navy, conservation groups, and government.
For days, President Bolsonaro has been claiming that the oil spill is due to criminal activity. Although the government hasn’t officially released an accusation, Ricardo Salles, the country’s environment minister, has claimed that the oil has very similar characteristics to Venezuela’s heavy crude. Venezuela has yet to make a statement.
Over a dozen sea turtles have died due to the oil spill. Turtles, birds, and other marine wildlife have been turning up covered in the sludge. O Estado de S. Paulo, a local newspaper, reported approximately 800 baby turtles that recently hatched were prevented from entering the ocean due to the crisis. IBAMA, Brazil’s environmental agency, has stated that fish and shellfish have not been affected.
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An oil spill along Brazil’s coastline is contaminating beaches and killing sea life, but the source of the 2,000-kilometre (1,240-mile) spill remains unknown. . “On a short walk, I’ve seen five big dead fish. It’s sad. Because it has also reached the reefs near here. The oil stains are really large,” says resident Darlan Souza. . The oil was first detected over a month ago. Some blame oil tankers in the Atlantic Ocean while others think it’s from a sunken WWII ship. . 💬 Have you ever been affected by an oil spill or an environmental disaster? Comment below. . 🔗Follow the link in our profile for more on this story. . #Brazil #OilSpill #Environment #LatinAmerica #Animals #Wildlife #Species #Pollution
IBAMA has been doing its best analyzing the spill to find answers. However, since January 1st when he came into office, Bolsonaro has cut the agency’s budget by 25%. With the budget cuts, his seeming lack of care for the forest fires, and his reducing fines for illegal deforestation, the far-right President’s commitment to Brazil’s environment is highly in doubt.
IBAMA has started their investigations on September 2nd, and now, over a month later, we are no closer to finding the exact culprit. The Venezuelan oil company has said that none of their oil tankers reported any incidents during transport. Yet, with two oil barrels found in Sergipe, everything points to that being the cause, regardless of country involvement.
With Bolsonaro facing backlash due to his response to the Amazon fires, the oil spill happened at such a time that it is taking the pressure off of him for the time being. It is heartbreaking what has happened to Brazil this year. I have not yet been able to find any organization that is accepting donations or volunteers, if you do, please share with us in the comments! Until then, this incident is another reminder that our oil dependence is utterly unsustainable on a myriad levels: not only because of the rising average global temperatures and climate crisis, but also for the conservation of our environment, ecosystems, and species.
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Photo: ET Now via Instagram; Al Jazeera English via Instagram