Living along a major river means you are at the mercy of the actions of those living upstream. On May 31, a landslide ruptured the Trans-Ecuador pipeline operated by Petroecuador, sending 420,000 gallons of crude oil into the River Coca, a tributary of the Amazon. Since the disaster, the oil has already reached the Peruvian Amazon region of Loreto, and Brazil has been put “on alert” to watch for the pollution as it makes its way into the country.

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According to Brazil’s foreign ministry, the nation is prepared to assist Ecuador and Peru in their efforts to contain the spill. The slick has polluted the drinking water for the 80,000 people living in Coca, Peru. Manuel Pulgar Vidal, the Peruvian Environmental Minister stated that his country was entitled to seek compensation.

“If there is a serious level of affected areas, international law always gives you the possibility to establish a compensation issue. “But… first we have to look at the extent of the problem,” he said.

On Saturday, Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa made an official apology. The state oil company has hired US firm Clean Caribbean & Americas to help begin environmental remediation and has distributed bottled water to those in Peru affected by the contamination. Meanwhile, Ecuador resumed pumping crude on Tuesday.

Via BBC News

Images via Wikicommons user Martanaro Steve and Flickr user fishbone1.