“An oil spill in the Ecuadorian Amazon is flowing downstream towards Peru and Brazil, heightening concerns about the impact of drilling in one of the world’s last remaining wildernesses.
About 1.6m litres of crude was discharged into a tributary of the Amazon from the Trans-Ecuador pipeline, which was ruptured by a landslide on 31 May.
The slick contaminated the drinking supplies of Coca, a gateway city into the Amazon forest. Local media reported that 60,000 people had to rely on water brought in by 65 tankers.
Petroecuador, the pipeline operator, has hired the US clearup company Clean Caribbean & Americas, which was involved in the operation after the Gulf of Mexico spill.
Although the company and local authorities tried to contain the slick with a boom, some of the oil entered the Napo river, which flows across the border.
Last week Peru reported traces of the oil in its Amazon region of Loreto, prompting an apology from the Ecuadorian president, Rafael Correa.
The Peruvian environment minister, Manuel Pulgar Vidal, described the slick as a “very serious problem” and said Peru could seek compensation if the damage proved extensive.”
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