Soares, Marcelo de Oliveira ORCID:, Teixeira, Carlos Eduardo Peres, Bezerra, Luis Ernesto Arruda, Rabelo, Emanuelle Fontenele, Castro, Italo Braga and Cavalcante, Rivelino Martins (2022) The most extensive oil spill registered in tropical oceans (Brazil): the balance sheet of a disaster. Environmental Science and Pollution Research . DOI

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This article presents a synthesis of information about the massive oil spill in Brazil (2019/2020). The event affected 11 states; however, the majority of the oil residue was collected (~ 5380 tons) near nine states (99.8%) in northeastern Brazil. This spill was not the largest in volume (between 5000 m3 and 12,000 m3) recorded in tropical oceans, but it was the most extensive (2890 km). This spill develops an overwashed tar that remains mostly in the undersurface drift (non-floating oil plume) below 17 m of depth while on the continental shelf. Ten ecosystems were impacted, with potentially more severe effects in mangroves and seagrasses. Certain negative effects are still understudied, such as effects on tropical reefs and rhodolith beds. A total of 57 protected areas in seven management categories were affected, most of which (60%) were characterized as multiple-use regions. The spill affected at least 34 threatened species, with impacts detected on plankton and benthic communities. Acute impacts were reported on echinoderms, coral symbionts, polychaetes, and sponges with evidence of oil ingestion. Socioeconomic impacts were detected in food security, public health, lodging, gender equality, tourism, and fishing, with reduced sales, prices, tourist attractiveness, gross domestic product, and employment. Moreover, chemical contamination was detected in some states by toxic metals (Hg, As, Cd, Pb, and Zn) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (acenaphthalene, fluoranthene, fluorene, naphthalene, and phenanthrene). This summary aims to aid in the design of science-based strategies to understand the impacts and develop strategies for the most extensive spill observed in tropical oceans.

Document Type: Article
Programme Area: PA2
Research affiliation: Ecology > Reef Systems
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
ISSN: 0944-1344
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2022 09:17
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2024 13:31

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