Target: Germán Velásquez Salazar, PetroPeru General Manager and Chairman
Goal: Pay for oil spill cleanup and compensate all local communities affected by the toxic environmental disaster.
There have been two oil pipeline spills in the Amazon since late January of this year. At least 3,000 barrels of petroleum were spilled into the river in Peru. While Brazil contains the largest part of the Amazon, Peru has the second largest section, now covered in black, thick crude oil sludge. The local community has been forced to come together to try and remove the oil from the river and soil.
These 250 locals that have no choice but to scoop up buckets of crude oil from the river, knowing that their labor-intensive task is nearly impossible and that it shouldn’t be their responsibility to clean up. The government says that Petroperu, the oil company responsible for the spill, will be sanctioned. Still, will it be enough?
Environmental scientists say that the damage to the environment will be long term. It is also alleged that Petroperu hired children to clean up the spill. Last year Petroperu was responsible for another massive oil spill for which it also hired children to clean for $28 dollars and without protective gear.
It’s not just the plants and animals that are suffering. At least eight indigenous communities use the two contaminated rivers for water. Peru’s government has had to declare a water quality emergency in various areas around the oil spill. Demand that Petroperu, which is responsible for the spill, pay for all the cleanup efforts and compensate suffering and at-risk local communities.
Dear Chairman Salazar,
Have you seen the photos of the 250 locals attempting to clean 3,000 barrels of crude oil from the rivers? These locals and their respective indigenous communities are fighting to save the environment that provides them with their principle source of water and food. They are forced to attempt to clean out the black sludge from their once thriving river.
These locals are faced with the arduous and slow task of filling buckets with the crude oil in an attempt to make the thick, black river clean again. On their own, the plants and animals of the region will never recover. With cleanup efforts, that Petroperu should be responsible for, the area may begin to recover in several years.
The government has declared a water quality emergency in five areas near the oil spill. It is reported that the spill is also contaminating the cacao trees downstream. The locals have no water and soon they will also have their livelihoods ruined.
It is PetroPeru’s responsibility to provide clean water and all necessary assistance to those affected by the spill. I demand that Petroperu pay for all the cleanup efforts and compensate suffering and at-risk local communities for the damages to their contaminated crops and soil.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Phil Norton