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Pipeline ruptures after rockslide, indigenous people face another environmental disaster, Ecuador

pipeline-rupture-amazon-rainforest-environmental-disaster-ecuador

A pipeline running through Ecuador's Amazon rainforest ruptured on Friday, January 28, 2022, spraying crude oil into the rainforest.

The event took place on the banks of the Coca River, threatening the livelihoods of 27 000 Indigenous Kichwa people still suffering impacts of the massive oil spill in April 2020.

According to NBC, more than 60 000 people depend on water from the river.1

Videos posted by the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) and Amazon Frontlines (AF) showed oil spraying out of the pipeline into the rainforest, eventually reaching the Coca River.

Authorities have not yet released info on the magnitude of the spill, but estimates are that it was big, AF said.

"The river is contaminated. Look," said a campaigner in a video posted by AF, showing oil flowing into the Coca River. "Thousands of liters are being spilled into the river. Thousands and thousands."2

"This is the exact reason why we oppose oil extraction," said Andres Tapia of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon, the parent organization of CONAIE.

"Spills have become a part of our daily life, and we live with the contamination for decades. The oil industry has only brought us death and destruction… We are calling on the government to halt oil expansion plans and properly clean up this spill and all the others that continue to contaminate our territories and violate our rights."

OCP Ecuador, the company that operates the pipeline, said the rupture was caused by rockfall, adding they have stopped pumping and begun cleanup.

The company further said they have contained the spill so it cannot contaminate any bodies of water.

However, footage released by AFrontlines showed oil entering the river.

References:

1 Oil spill sprays crude into Ecuador’s Amazon rainforest – NBC

2 'Disaster': Burst Pipeline Sprays Crude Oil Into Ecuadorian Amazon – Common Dreams

Featured image: AFrontlines

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