Crude oil contaminating the northeastern coast of Brazil has reached the town of Maragogi, one of the region’s main tourist beaches, its mayor said Thursday.
Environmental regulator Ibama reported there are at least 178 locations in nine Brazilian states that have been affected by the oil. In terms of expanse, it is Brazil’s largest-ever environmental disaster, according to David Zee, an oceanographer at Rio de Janeiro’s state university.
The government’s response has been questioned by ocean experts and environmental NGOs such as Greenpeace. As in Maragogi, in recent weeks many Brazilians have worked to remove oil from the contaminated beaches without proper equipment or instruction from authorities.
The Brazilian Environment Minister, Ricardo Salles, rebuffed the criticism Wednesday and told local press all necessary means had been adopted for the crude’s identification and collection.