Mining Waste Reaches Brazilian Coast Two Weeks After BHP Dam Collapse
Tide is expected to spread along a 5.5-mile stretch of coastline, threatening a nature reserve after killing plants and animals along 400 miles of the Rio Doce
Mining Waste Reaches Brazilian Coast Two Weeks After BHP Dam Collapse
By Bruce Douglas / theguardian.com
A huge brown plume of mud and mining waste spread out along the coast of the Brazilian state of Espírito Santo on Monday, a little over two weeks after the collapse of a dam at an iron ore mine.

According to projections from Brazil’s environment ministry, the tide is expected to spread along 5.5-mile (9km) stretch of the coastline, threatening the Comboios nature reserve, one of the only regular nesting sites for the endangered leatherback turtle.

“I don’t know what to say. It’s awful; it’s a calamity,” Joca Thome, the national coordinator of the marine conservation organisation Tamar, told the press after flying over the area. “It looks like brown gelatin spreading out to sea.”

 An aerial view of the Rio Doce at an area where the river joins the sea, on the coast of Espírito Santo in Regência village. Photograph: Ricardo Moraes/Reuters

Around 50m cubic metres of mining residue has been working its way down the Rio Doce since the accident at the Fundão dam, controlled by the mining company Samarco, on 5 November.

The mud has extinguished vast amounts of plant and animal life along a 400-mile (650km) stretch of the river, with the heightened turbidity drastically reducing the levels of oxygen in the water.

Concern over toxins in the mining residue has led the national water agency, ANA, to ban the use of the river water for human consumption. Hundreds of thousands of residents in the area are still dependent on supplies of bottled water.

Dramatic footage shows the aftermath of a burst dam in south-eastern Brazil, which left homes and streets flooded

Over the past few days, Samarco, a joint venture between the Brazilian firm Vale and the Anglo-Australian company BHP Billiton, has contracted fishermen in the coastal village of Regência to install protective barriers along the estuary of the Rio Doce.

Diggers have also been working to widen the mouth of the river to ensure that the mud drifts out to sea as quickly as possible, in the hope that the salinity and the volume of water will aid its rapid dispersal.

The water in the estuary began turning brown on Saturday afternoon, as a crowd of angry locals gathered by the village dock to watch. The first dead fish began floating to the surface on Sunday.

A local fisherman working for a company contracted by Samarco mine operator clears up dead fish found on the beach of Povoacao village. Photograph: Ricardo Moraes/Reuters

So far Samarco has agreed to pay R$1bn (US$250m) in cleanup costs and compensation, as well as a fine of R$250m (US$66m) to the federal environmental agency Ibama.

A report in Monday’s Folha de São Paulo newspaper, however, suggested that from 2011 to 2014, only 8.7% of the fines issued by Ibama were collected.

0.0 ·
0
What's Next
Trending Today
Who Are You? Watching This Breathtaking Video Could Be the Moment You Change Your Life
2 min · 28,911 views today · "Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work, driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for, in order to get to a job that you need so you can...
When You Kill Ten Million Africans You Aren't Called 'Hitler'
Liam O'Ceallaigh · 14,478 views today · Take a look at this picture. Do you know who it is? Most people haven’t heard of him. But you should have. When you see his face or hear his name you should get as sick in...
How to Criticize with Kindness: Philosopher Daniel Dennett on the Four Steps to Arguing Intelligently
Maria Popova · 14,094 views today · “Just how charitable are you supposed to be when criticizing the views of an opponent?”
10 Shocking Facts About Society That We Absurdly Accept As Normal
Joe Martino · 12,847 views today · When you take a moment and look around at the world, things can appear pretty messed up. Take 5 or 10 minutes and watch the 6 o’clock news. Chances are, the entire time, all...
What It Really Means to Hold Space for Someone
Heather Plett · 9,110 views today · How to be there for the people who need you most
Welcome to Marinaleda: The Spanish Anti-Capitalist Town With Equal Wage Full Employment and $19 Housing
Jade Small · 7,980 views today · With virtually no police, crime or unemployment, meet the Spanish town described as a democratic, socialist utopia. Unemployment is non-existent in Marinaleda, an Andalusian...
Caitlin Moran's Posthumous Advice for Her Daughter
Caitlin Moran · 7,501 views today · My daughter is about to turn 13 and I’ve been smoking a lot recently, and so – in the wee small hours, when my lungs feel like there’s a small mouse inside them, scratching to...
The International Criminal Court May Start Prosecuting People Who Commit Crimes Against the Environment
Tara Smith · 5,970 views today · The International Criminal Court is not known for prosecuting people responsible for huge oil slicks, chopping down protected rainforests or contaminating pristine land. But...
Rap News Special Edition: Hillary Clinton Vs Donald Trump
7 min · 5,510 views today · Hello world. RAP NEWS is back for a special episode on the 2016 USA Election mayhem, feat. Hillary Clinton vs Donald Trump + a touch of Jill Stein & Gary Johnson. This one's...
Humanity's Greatest Challenges Aren't Technical, They're Human
8 min · 5,309 views today · Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is incomplete as we commonly know it. Later in his life, Maslow wrote about a stage beyond self-actualization. Nichol Brandford explains how to...
Forest Man
16 min · 5,119 views today · Since the 1970's Majuli islander Jadav Payeng has been planting trees in order to save his island. To date he has single handedly planted a forest larger than Central Park NYC...
Ten Ways We Misunderstand Children
Jan Hunt · 4,124 views today · 1. We expect children to be able to do things before they are ready. We ask an infant to keep quiet. We ask a 2-year-old to sit still. We ask a 3-year-old to clean his room...
10 Photos That Show the Magnificent Light Shining on Standing Rock
Josue Rivas · 3,376 views today · Despite all the news of pipeline regulation, court appeals, and activist arrests, Native photographer Josue Rivas reminds us that it is actually a peaceful place.
The Journey From Syria (2016)
71 min · 2,894 views today · Reporter Matthew Cassel spent a year documenting the journey of Syrian jeweler Aboud Shalhoub as he travels from Turkey to Greece, and through Eastern Europe to the Netherlands...
American Cartel: How America's Two Major Parties Helped Destroy Democracy
Frank Castro · 2,577 views today · Cartel: An association of manufacturers or suppliers with the purpose of maintaining prices at a high level and restricting competition.
Alan Watts: What If Money Was No Object?
3 min · 2,083 views today · How do you like to spend your life? What do you desire? What if money didn't matter? What if money was no object? What would you like to do if money were no object? Spoken...
The Culture of Maximum Harm
Daniel Quinn · 1,816 views today · People have lived many different ways on this planet, but about ten thousand years ago there appeared one people who believed everyone in the world should live a single...
A Woman Who Makes This Statement Today Needs Revolutionary Courage
Sabine Lichtenfels · 1,628 views today · I want to live in a community with men and women, with children, animals and plants so that I am not continually forced to hide my actual being from the others. Perception and...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 1,406 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
“You Can Have Your Weak Nominee If You Wish” – the Sanders Endorsement Backfires on Hillary Clinton, Empowers Sanders in One Masterstroke
Saib Bilaval · 1,274 views today · Ultimately, what the Sanders endorsement has proved is what the candidate was arguing from the beginning – that it was not Sanders and his campaign that was holding Hillary...
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
Mining Waste Reaches Brazilian Coast Two Weeks After BHP Dam Collapse