An oil spill has been found on Brazil’s northeastern beaches. According to state-news agency Agencia Brazil, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro believes the oil may have been dumped illegally. Oil spills were first seen in September, the President said they were dumped “criminally.”
Environmental minister Ricardo Salles reported that over 100 tons of oil sludge had already been collected from the beaches. Since oil is neither produced or traded in Brazil, the government is suspicious of the source of the pollution. Reuters reported that the oil was produced abroad, according to investigations by the government.
Police are investigating the oil spill which spans beaches along 8 states in Brazil, for 932 miles of beaches. These beaches are popular with tourists. According to Reuters, the police said there was “possible major environmental damage in the region.”
On Tuesday, Brazil’s state run oil company Petrobas ruled out tanker cleanings as the cause of the spill. Petrobas CEO Roberto Castello Branco said the cleanup of the spill, which he called “something extraordinary,” was a role for the federal navy and government.
Environmental and wildlife damage are guaranteed byproducts of oil spills. Wildlife are being treated in the oil-slicked areas. No fish or shellfish have been reported as contaminated, but six sea turtles and a seabird have been found dead so far.
Bolsonaro has been widely criticized for his lack of environmental policies and rollback of current ones. The fires in the Amazon have been affecting health and the environment across Brazil since the summer. Bolsonaro called coverage of the fires “sensationalist.”
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