Residents of the Amazon in Ecuador boil after a new oil spill Environmental news

There is oil in the water, on the rocks and in the sand, where children usually play on the banks of the Coca River in Ecuador.

The people of Puerto Madero have made no effort to hide their anger at the latest spill of crude oil that hit the Ecuadorian Amazon.

“This damage is not for a month, it will be 20 months 20 it will be 20 years before things return to normal,” said Bolivia Buenano, a trader in the area about 120 kilometers (75 miles) from where the spill occurred.

Buenano joined the cleanup team of the OCP oil transportation company, whose pipeline was responsible for the leak, to bring some relief to a community of more than 700 people.

No one can “bathe normally in the river, nor drink from here, there are no fish, there is nothing,” she exclaimed as she cleaned a dirty buoy.

Buenano complained about the lack of public investment in the Amazon, which owns much of the country’s oil wealth but is hardest hit by industrial disasters like this one.

men in the Amazon region of Ecuador are investigating an oil spillThe oil spill is caused by the rupture of a pipeline belonging to the OCP in a protected area of ​​the Amazon [Ecuador’s Ministry of Environment via AFP]

On Friday, nearly 6,300 barrels of oil leaked into an ecological reserve in eastern Ecuador when torrential rains caused a rock to fall on a pipeline.

Cesar Benalcazar was one of several people who rushed to the scene to stop the flow of oil.

“We tried to stop the oil from reaching the river, but the slope made it go down like a waterfall,” said the 24-year-old Benalcazar.

The OCP said more than 84 percent of crude oil had been recovered.

But no earlier, about 21,000 square meters (226,000 square feet) of the Cayambe Coca Nature Reserve were polluted and the raw raw material flowed into the Coca River, one of the largest in the Ecuadorian Amazon and an important source for many communities along the river. .

Rains and currents carry the stain many miles.

“We are tired because this is not a normal life. “Nature is not healthy, it is polluted,” Buenano said.

“And this will continue as long as the pipeline and the crude oil network continue.”

In 2020, a landslide damaged pipelines that spilled about 15,000 barrels of oil into three rivers in the Amazon Basin, affecting several communities.

Crude oil is Ecuador’s largest export.

Between January and November 2021, the country produced 494,000 barrels per day.

Buenano and the rest of the cleaning crew murmured indignantly as they filled containers with contaminated sand, which they arranged together for later removal.

wide view of the oil spill area in the Pedra Fina sector in the Amazon Ecuador Residents say the spill has spread to the Coca River, and rain and currents have spread it for miles. [Ecuador’s Ministry of Environment via AFP]

“We are forgotten by God,” said Rosa Capinoa, leader of the Fecunae Indigenous organization, which visits the affected areas.

“I know this is not something that can be fixed overnight, it will take a long time. “Watching this natural disaster is very painful,” she told AFP.

“Oil comes from here, and we as communities do not participate in the profit. All we get is a water bottle, water tanks, “added Capinoa in response to the OCP, which supplies drinking water to the affected population.

According to the Ecuadorian Ministry of the Environment, Friday’s spill occurred in the Coca Cayambe reserve of about 403,000 hectares (996,000 acres), which houses a huge collection of animals and plants.

From there it spread to the Coca River.

“We feel quite outraged because we experience this every two or three years,” said Romel Buenano, a 35-year-old farmer from Puerto Madero who is not affiliated with Bolivia Buenano.

The disaster in 2020, he said, put an end to fishing for a while and killed animals on Coca’s islands.

“It’s not that the cleanup is over,” he told AFP.

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