PERU: RIVERS TURN BLACK FROM OIL SPILLS

In what is considered one of the worst environmental disasters this year, Lima has declared a state of emergency after over 3,000 barrels of oil seeped into two major Amazonian rivers, contaminating the water and food supply.

The Chiriaco and Morona rivers are covered in so much oil, that the Peruvian government is advising the 20+ indigenous communities that rely on these rivers, to not drink the water. In one month, the country has experienced three spills that has  killed plants, animals, and fish, and has spread sickness throughout the communities. 

 

The first pipeline burst in January, and according to the BBC, was triggered by a landslide. However, it took Petro Perú  three days to patch the ruptured pipes. Two more pipes have burst in February to which the company was fined $3.59 million by the Energy and Mining Investment Supervisory Body for failing to maintain their pipelines. 4,500 people have been affected by the spill, with almost 100 people being injured or catching sickness from the contaminated rivers.

Petro Peru, the company responsible for the oil spills, have urged citizens not to worry, and are in the process of cleaning up the spill. Victor Huarcaya, the Emergency Response Team member for Petro Perú, told Al Jazeera news that the fish are now safe and that the community can continue to bathe in the rivers.

we say it’s safe to bathe and you can eat the fish, but the population distrusts us because they don’t know oil and its behavior.
— Victor Huarcaya

However, if the oil spills prove to be the cause of sickness among the indigenous communities, Petro Perú could face a fine of over $17 million.

Petro Perú the state run oil company, is also facing criticism for using underage children to clean up the oil in the rivers. One boy has been hospitalized after suffering injuries while gathering oil for Petro Perú, without any protective gear. Petro Perú had been paying the boy 57 cents for every container of oil he collected but did not equip him with any tools or clothing to protect him from contamination.

Many indigenous citizens have taken to the streets to protest their current conditions. The indigenous peoples have resorted to eating bananas and yucca in order to survive.

 

Leonardo DiCaprio has taken to twitter to spread awareness on the issue and has donated $3.4 million to the conservation of the Amazon rain forest as well as to the indigenous groups who have been affected by oil spills.

Originally posted on TruthNetMedia