The crisis began on August 30, 2019. That morning, the first oil stain was spotted on a beach in the northeastern state of Paraíba. Soon, more crude oil splotches would be found in other coastal areas — in a mystery that quickly became the most widespread environmental disaster in Brazilian history. Over 1,000 beaches, mangroves, and rivers in hundreds of municipalities — stretching over 2,000 kilometers of Brazil’s coastline — were swallowed up by at least 5,000 tons of thick fragments of crude oil sludge. The local tourism industry was wrecked, while hundreds of thousands of fishermen lost most of their income.
One year later, Brazilian authorities still have no idea of who was responsible for the spill.