Ten year-old oil spill in Brazil may provide clues for the future of Gulf ecosystem
In 2000 a massive oil leak from an underwater Petrobras pipeline spilled into Guanabara Bay near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is considered one of Brazil’s worst environmental disasters ever and was given an estimated recovery time of 10 years.
What Al Jazeera English reporter Gabriel Elizondo discovered on a recent trip to Guanabara Bay is that it has anything but recovered during the past 10 years:
The mud is thick, black and lifeless. And it stinks. Dead stumps – what used to be thick green mangrove swamps – protrude out from the mud as far as your eyes see. It looks like a scene captured by a camera attached to an unmanned spacecraft that has just landed on a lifeless planet in another galaxy.
Though the pollution of Guanabara Bay is ‘legendary’ besides the spill, it seems that it is the oil that really destroyed the ecosystem and decimated the local fishing industry which depended on it.
How long it will take for the Gulf of Mexico to recover after the BP spill – estimated at four times the amount of oil spilled in Guanabara Bay – is unknown, but if history is any clue it looks like it will take longer than 10 years.
Read the full report ‘Effects of a Brazilian oil spill 10 years on’ from Al Jazeera English and watch the accompanying video report below.