A major oil spill in the Amazon region -- a result of an old oil well sealed almost 20 years earlier, bursting open due to interior gas pressure -- has polluted several rivers in the region. The well is located in the Pastaza province in the central Amazonian region of Ecuador. The incident which took place recently has resulted in the contamination of the Curaray and Chargayacu rivers.
The Huaoranis and the Quichuas who live along the banks of the rivers have been greatly affected and several species of animals like turtles, birds and fishes have been killed. A representation of the indigenous organisations has met the Ecuadorian President and submitted lack of action on the part of the state oil company, Petro-ecuador, which has yet to take any measures to stop the flow of toxic crude.
The oil spill raises questions about the effec-tiveness of such underta-kings in ecologically fragile areas and also the liability on the part of companies to share the clean-up costs. Presently, oil companies operating in Ecuador, are not required to furnish any bond to guarantee the effective sealing of wells and are also not responsible for any damage that might occur as a result of malpractice.
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