This story was originally published by Hakai Magazine and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
The port in Ancón, just north of Lima, Peru, should be bustling. It’s a cold and gray Friday morning, around the time when fishers should be returning to port and unloading their catch. But ever since January, when the Spanish oil company Repsol spilled 11,900 barrels of crude oil just off the coast — a spill the United Nations calls the worst environmental disaster in Peru’s recent history — the port has come to an almost complete standstill.
On January 15, the oil tanker Mare Doricum released oil that, over the course of the month, spread over approximately 100 square kilometers — an area almost twice the size of Manhattan that includes two protected areas. Additionally, the oil contaminated an estimated 37,000 tons of sand.
Despite initial outrage, the spill has been all but pushed out of the media cycle in a country that is undergoing a prolonged political crisis. Yet now, five months later, affected communities are still reeling. Though the Peruvian government is pursuing ... Read more