Colombian Oil Company Delays Acting on Spill, Thousands of Animals Perish

StoryfulNewsPublished: March 29, 2018
Published: March 29, 2018

A Colombian oil company waited for over three weeks to act on a spill that contaminated a 30-kilometers stretch of river, killed thousands of animals and forced dozens of families to leave their homes, according to local reports. The spill began on March 3 from the Lizama 158 oil field in Barrancabermeja, which is owned by Colombian state-owned oil company Ecopetrol. Between March 3 and March 27, approximately 23,100 gallons of crude oil leaked into the Magdelena River and its tributaries. It is estimated that approximately 2,400 animals died and 1,300 were rescued as a result of contamination in the area. Reports also indicate that around 1,080 trees were also affected. 70 people in the area were relocated and a number of people presented with health problems such as vomiting, dizziness and headaches. On March 26, Felipe Bayon, the president of Ecopetrol said that the spill had been controlled and a specialized team from the US had been deployed to seal the leak. He apologized for the incident and said that Ecopetrol was committed to taking necessary action. Following Bayon’s statement, locals and environmental activists in the area told reporters that two new spills had occurred close to the location of the first. Ecopetrol denied any new spills, but said a new hole had been discovered that was part of the first spill, and had since been controlled. Credit: Óscar Sampayo of GEAM and the Committee of the Vizcaya Agreement via Storyful

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