As we give our children Easter eggs, there something you might be forgiven for not hearing too much about over the past few of weeks.
Seems children in parts of the Amazon can’t even drink water or eat fish for over 4 months from the waterway on which their very lives depend. At least two devastating oil spills have occurred in the Peruvian Amazon since 25 January, spilling thousands of barrels of oil into Amazonian rivers. In the latest incident, ruptures in Peru’s main oil pipeline have spilled 3,000 barrels of thick black crude oil into the Amazon jungle river system threatening the environment and lives of local indigenous people.
Peru’s national oil company is responsible and yet again has been unconscionably slow in responding to the disaster and providing clean water, food, and necessary health services to affected indigenous communities.
No one really knows how much was swept down the River Chiriaco and then into the River Maranon, one of the biggest Amazon tributaries in Peru, but not for the first time in recent years, locals have been struggling to deal with the aftermath, with young people and small children from poor, indigenous communities involved in the clean-up.
One 12-year-old boy reported he was paid 57 cents for every bucket of oil he collected before being injured by the effects. Peruvian health studies have found that 98% of Achuar children have high levels of cadmium in their blood, and two-thirds suffer from lead poisoning.
Although there’s a state of emergency that means locals cannot use the water or fish in it for four months, and the effects will last much longer, smug faced officials and oil company chiefs are shrugging it all off as an ‘Inevitable accident’, of which there are bound to more of. Its not just Peruvian oil companies, but in Ecuador, just the same has been happening for years.
I have witnessed personally how the oil companies operate in these regions – No respect for wildlife, people, or life, even in the National parks such as at Yasuni. All an utter disgrace and so very very sad.