DATE: October 24, 2019
SNIP: Brazil’s government has sent 5,000 troops to clean up a massive oil spill polluting its beaches after facing mounting anger over its failure to tackle the environmental crisis.
The mysterious spill has continued and has now touched more than 1,000 miles of Brazil’s coast, polluting some of the country’s most picturesque beaches and destroying local marine life.
[T]he government is no closer to determining the source of the spill.
Now public anger is rising over the Brazilian government’s failure to stem the flow – or indeed establish the oil’s source. In response, local officials have resorted to urging volunteers to aid the cleanup mission.
Videos of volunteers’ inefficient attempts to clean up the spills have been met with ridicule on social media. Online commentators have shared footage of locals equipped with little more than rubber gloves and rudimentary fishing nets battling the huge environmental disaster, questioning why the government has not offered a coordinated national response.
As officials struggled to deal with the threat to marine wildlife and the tourist industry, it was left to local residents, volunteers and community groups to clean up the oil themselves, with many using their bare hands.
The apparent lack of a coordinated national response prompted a state senator to accuse the president, Jair Bolsonaro, of incompetence.
“The indignation at the government’s neglect is huge,” said Humberto Costa, who represents Pernambuco, one of the nine states affected. ”Forgotten by the president, the people took the reins of the situation and went alone to save their coast.”
Describing the spill as “the largest environmental disaster in history”, he asked: “How will the northeast survive now, in the high season, when tourism is one of the main activities, with beaches full of oil?”
Mr Costa added: “We are facing an incompetent government that has done nothing for weeks.”