Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

10,000 Gallons of Oil Spills Into Chile’s Pristine Patagonia

Oceans
Chilean navy works to contain damage from the oil spill, on Guarello Island in Chile on July 27. Chilean Navy / Twitter

Forty-thousand liters (approximately 10,600 gallons) of diesel oil have spilled into the waters of Chile's Patagonia, a biodiversity hotspot at the tip of South America.


The Chilean navy confirmed the oil spill Saturday after receiving a call from CAP, a mining company, informing it of a spill from its terminal on Guarello Island, The Associated Press reported.

The oil spilled from the island, where CAP mines limestone, and out into the South Pacific Ocean, Reuters reported. Oceana Chile tweeted a map showing the affected area, along with the hope that the spill would not be of unspeakable proportions.

Greenpeace Chile also expressed concern over the potential damage, warning it could be "devastating."

"It's an extremely grave situation considering the pristine nature of the waters in which this environmental emergency has occurred," Greenpeace Chile Director Matías Asun said in a statement reported by CNN. "It must be considered that the zone is extremely difficult to access and that it is an area of great richness of marine mammals, like whales and dolphins, which could see themselves seriously affected in their habitat given that when coming to the surface to breathe they could meet this layer of oil."

The navy sent ships to control the damage and launched an investigation into its cause.

"The marine pollution control centre was activated," Third Naval Zone commander Ronald Baasch told local media, according to The Associated Press.

The navy announced that around 15,000 liters (approximately 4,000 gallons) had been contained as of Sunday, CNN reported.

CAP also said Sunday that the spill had been contained and that they were cooperating with the navy's investigation, Reuters further reported. The company said it had activated its procedure for controlling spills and containing damage.

"As an additional measure, a process of permanent monitoring of the area has been coordinated through a specialized foundation," the company's statement said.

Patagonia is a remote region at the southern tip of South America that is shared by Argentina and Chile. The Wildlife Conservation Society described its scale:

All told, its terrestrial wilderness spans over a million square miles, roughly seven times the state of New York. Its waters cover 1.8 million square miles—about the size of Alaska. Together, these are home to some of the largest coastal colonies of marine mammals and birds anywhere.

Oil spills threaten marine life because they coat the water with residue, blocking light from entering marine ecosystems, Greenpeace Chile explained. They also spread toxins throughout the ocean environment, harming the ability of marine animals to feed themselves and reproduce.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Moroccan patients who recovered from the novel coronavirus disease celebrate with medical staff as they leave the hospital in Sale, Morocco, on April 3, 2020. AFP / Getty Images

By Tom Duszynski

The coronavirus is certainly scary, but despite the constant reporting on total cases and a climbing death toll, the reality is that the vast majority of people who come down with COVID-19 survive it. Just as the number of cases grows, so does another number: those who have recovered.

In mid-March, the number of patients in the U.S. who had officially recovered from the virus was close to zero. That number is now in the tens of thousands and is climbing every day. But recovering from COVID-19 is more complicated than simply feeling better. Recovery involves biology, epidemiology and a little bit of bureaucracy too.

Read More Show Less
Reef scene with crinoid and fish in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Reinhard Dirscherl / ullstein bild / Getty Images

By Elizabeth Claire Alberts

The future for the world's oceans often looks grim. Fisheries are set to collapse by 2048, according to one study, and 8 million tons of plastic pollute the ocean every year, causing considerable damage to delicate marine ecosystems. Yet a new study in Nature offers an alternative, and more optimistic view on the ocean's future: it asserts that the entire marine environment could be substantially rebuilt by 2050, if humanity is able to step up to the challenge.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A daughter touches her father's head while saying goodbye as medics prepare to transport him to Stamford Hospital on April 02, 2020 in Stamford, Connecticut. He had multiple COVID-19 symptoms. John Moore / Getty Images

Across the country, the novel coronavirus is severely affecting black people at much higher rates than whites, according to data released by several states, as The New York Times reported.

Read More Show Less
Four rolls of sourdough bread are arranged on a surface. Photo by Laura Chase de Formigny and food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post / Getty Images

By Zulfikar Abbany

Bread has been a source of basic nutrition for centuries, the holy trinity being wheat, maize and rice. It has also been the reason for a lot of innovation in science and technology, from millstones to microbiological investigations into a family of single-cell fungi called Saccharomyces.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A coral reef in Egypt's Red Sea. Tropical ocean ecosystems could see sudden biodiversity losses this decade if emissions are not reduced. Georgette Douwma / Stone / Getty Images

The biodiversity loss caused by the climate crisis will be sudden and swift, and could begin before 2030.

Read More Show Less