It's no longer possible to rely 100% on ads to keep our organization going. If you believe in why Films For Action exists, we hope you'll become a supporter on Patreon. A monthly donation of $1, $3, $5 or more per month will really help!
As Rivers Run Black in Peru, Indigenous Tribes Left Cleaning Big Oil's Disaster
"Those responsible, where are they?" Water supply and delicate ecosystem contaminated by spate of oil spills in Amazon
As Rivers Run Black in Peru, Indigenous Tribes Left Cleaning Big Oil's Disaster
By Nika Knight / commondreams.org
Feb 24, 2016

A disastrous spate of oil spills in the Peruvian Amazon have gone from bad to worse in recent days, leaving Indigenous tribes frantically trying to clean up the mess left by the nation's state-owned oil company. 

The catastrophic ruptures in Petroperu's Northern Peruvian Pipeline occurred on January 25th and February 3rd and have threatened the water supply of nearly 10,000 indigenous people, says Amazon Watch.

On Monday, Petroperu officials confirmed to Reuters that the oil has poured into two critical Amazon River tributaries that eight Achuar tribes depend on for water. According to the news agency, these two tributaries of the Amazon River, the Chiriaco and Morona rivers, are now filled with 3,000 barrels of oil.

Critics charge that the spills continued to spread and caused far worse damage after the responsible company, Petroperu, failed to act to contain the oil released by the pipeline breakages.

peru2_0.jpg

A third pipeline rupture was rumored on February 19, reports Amazon Watch, but the state-owned petroleum company took to Twitter to deny those reports.

The devastating spills occurred mere months after Indigenous activists staged massiveprotests against Peru's oil industry in September.

Over the weekend, local activist Marco Arana Zegarra posted horrific images of the oil's spread in the Chiriaco tributary:

Derrame de petróleo en Chiriaco ayer. Ya impusieron leve multa. Cuándo la renuncia de responsables? @FAFrenteAmplio pic.twitter.com/OwZOWVZUKz

— Marco Arana Zegarra (@vozdelatierra) February 20, 2016

 "Those responsible? Where are they?" Zegarra appealed.

Los responsables? Dónde están? En mitin del @FAFrenteAmplio hoy en Lambayeque: destitución de Pdte. de Petroperú ya!pic.twitter.com/HN6f5y1OFj

— Marco Arana Zegarra (@vozdelatierra) February 20, 2016

Waterways flow with black sludge and trees and flowers are rendered nearly unrecognizable by a thick coating of oil in video footage of the spills:

 

"At least this time," observed Zegarra, "Petroperu has given Indigenous populations suits to wear for cleaning up oil."

Por la menos esta vez Petroperú ha dado trajes a poblaciones indígenas que son empleadas para limpieza de petróleo pic.twitter.com/LwHyLvG0j1

— Marco Arana Zegarra (@vozdelatierra) February 19, 2016

Petroperu president German Velasquez "denied reports the company paid children to clean up the oil," reports the Guardian, but then he went on, perhaps damningly, to say that "he was evaluating firing four officials, including one who may have allowed children to collect the crude."

(Photo: Alessandro Currarino / El Comercio)

"It’s important to note that the spills...are not isolated cases. Similar emergencies have emerged as a result of defects in sections of the pipeline," the national environmental regulator said, according to the Guardian.

The regulator "ordered Petroperu to replace parts of the pipeline and improve maintenance," states Reuters. The Guardian reports that Petroperu will face fines of up to $17 million if it is proven that the oil spills have affected the health of locals.

"This environmental disaster is just the latest in a long history of oil and gas leaks in the area," laments Indigenous rights group Survival International, observing that "[m]ore" than 70% of the Peruvian Amazon has been leased by the government to oil companies."

The group translates a call to action by AIDESEP, an organization that fights for indigenous people in the Peruvian Amazon, in which it pleads for "international public opinion, the media, NGOs and civil society to pay attention to this serious event that puts in danger the lives of thousands of people living in the area who have traditionally been neglected."


All photos Alessandro Currarino / El Comercio

0.0 ·
0
Featured Films
The Staging Post: Courageous People Never Give Up! (2017)
61 min The Staging Post follows two Afghan Hazara refugees, Muzafar and Khadim. Stuck in Indonesia after Australia 'stopped the boats' and facing many years in limbo, they built a community and started the school which inspired a refugee education revolution. A real-life...
Inhabit: A Permaculture Perspective (2015)
92 min Humanity is more than ever threatened by its own actions; we hear a lot about the need to minimize footprints and to reduce our impact. But what if our footprints were beneficial? What if we could meet human needs while increasing the health and well-being of our...
Within Reach (2013)
87 min Within Reach explores one couple's pedal-powered search for a place to call home. Mandy and Ryan gave up their jobs, cars, and traditional houses to 'bike-pack' 6500 miles around the USA seeking sustainable community. Rather than looking in a traditional neighborhood, they...
Schooling the World (2010)
66 min If you wanted to change an ancient culture in a generation, how would you do it? You would change the way it educates its children. The U.S. Government knew this in the 19th century when it forced Native American children into government boarding schools. Today, volunteers...
Fall and Winter (2013)
102 min This stunning film takes you on a hypnotic journey, reaching to the past to understand the origins of the catastrophic environmental transitions we now face. Over two years, director Matt Anderson traveled 16,000 miles to document firsthand our modern industrial world and the...
The Economics of Happiness (2011)
65 min Economic globalization has led to a massive expansion in the scale and power of big business and banking. It has also worsened nearly every problem we face: fundamentalism and ethnic conflict; climate chaos and species extinction; financial instability and unemployment. There...
Trending Today


Love Films For Action? Become a Patron!

Our Patreon campaign is now live! We hope you'll be among the first to support this new direction for Films For Action. The goal is to go 100% ad-free by next year and become 100% member supported. A monthly pledge of just $1 -5 per month x a few thousand awesome people will ensure we can continue our work and grow our impact across the world. Click here to join.

Join us on Facebook
As Rivers Run Black in Peru, Indigenous Tribes Left Cleaning Big Oil's Disaster