Oil spill in Rio

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Probably just a happening. With all the interest in spills and fires maybe important.

Rio Oil Spill Region's Worst 16:53EST 01/19/00

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP) -- At least 130,000 gallons of crude oil spewed out of a broken pipeline, polluting beaches and endangering plant and animal life in what authorities called the worst ecological disaster to hit Rio de Janeiro state in a decade. The spill occurred Tuesday, when part of a 12-mile pipeline from the Duque de Caxias refinery sprung a leak near the coast, causing the oil to gush onto beaches and into Guanabara Bay, said Petrobras, the government-owned oil company.

State environmental officials said the leak was caused because Petrobras' pipelines are old and poorly maintained.

WORLD Rio Oil Spill Region's Worst Arafat Seeks Support From U.S. Italy's Bettino Craxi Dies Street Battles Rage in Grozny Chechen Commanders in Moscow The spill, the equivalent of 315 barrels of oil, covered at least three miles of coastline, affecting at least two beaches and a mangrove swamp rich in animal and plant species, Petrobras said.

The affected area could be even larger, said Andre Correia, the head of the state's Environmental Affairs Department.

"The experience of our technicians tells us the spill was a lot larger,'' he said. "Its extent was significant, and we have to act urgently.''

As much as 1 million gallons may have spilled into the bay, the O Globo news agency reported, citing information from the State Environmental Engineering Foundation.

"It is Rio de Janeiro's worst ecological disaster in 10 years,'' Carlos Minc, president of the state legislature's Environmental Affairs Committee told the Jornal do Brasil newspaper.

Petrobras said an investigation into the cause of the spill would be completed later this week.

So far, the spill is contained in Guanabara Bay and is not a danger to Rio's well-known beaches, such as Copacabana and Ipanema.

"The spill is at the mercy of tides and winds that could spread it to other beaches and mangrove swamps,'' said biologist Mario Moscatelli of the Environmental Affairs Department. "The varied ecosystem of these swamps could be irreparably damaged.''

Petrobras said the cleanup would take at least 30 days.


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), January 19, 2000

Moderation questions? read the FAQ