There is another fossil fuel tragedy taking place that is going largely unnoticed by the world. This one is taking place in Peru and like so many oil spills it does not get press attention despite its destructive human and ecological impact. It could be that this is due to the fact that spills are common. As has become common, there were dozens of oil spills in North America in 2015 making the point that there is no safe way of transporting fossil fuels. It is well known that fossil fuels are the leading cause of the climate crisis we are facing but the problems associated with extraction and transporting hydrocarbons often goes unnoticed.
In the northern jungles of Peru people are in peril after two pipeline ruptures spilled crude oil into various waterways, including the Marañon River, a principal tributary of the Amazon River. For indigenous people these waterways are their lifeline, they provide food and water for crops and consumption.
The first spill was reported on January 25 and then on February 3 another spill occurred on a different section of the same pipeline. The spill is known to have killed fish, crocodiles and plants. So far at least 2,000 barrels of oil are known to have spilled in the regions of Amazonas and Loreto.
The state-owned Petro-Perú that operates the pipelines has been fined $3.5 million. The company has been criticized for its slow and inefficient response times and use of child labor to do recovery work. Heavy rains have exacerbated the clean up operation.
Here is a video of the oil spill from the 42 year old oil pipeline that is spilling thousands of barrels of oil into waterways that run through the Amazon.
This is just the latest of a long series of spills in Peru. A review of published reports shows that there have been at least 11 oil spills in the area since 2010. A comparable spill from June 2014 saw 3,000 barrels of oil spilled from another Petro-Perú pipeline, a disaster that affected 20,000 families.
In 2015, 68 cubic metres of crude oil leaked into the sea after a hose from the Maltese tanker Ariete became detached during a storm on Saturday. Many seabirds were killed by the slick.
Here is some raw footage from the AP Archive
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