SOS – Crude oil is once again washing up on beaches all along the Northeastern coast of Brazil

Portuguese Translation

Residents are now reliving the environmental tragedy of 2019 that devastated 130 coastal cities of Northeastern Brazil, and which was one of the worst environmental disasters in the country’s history.

Various cities and municipalities in the Northeast region of Brazil are once again recording significant quantities of crude oil that is still washing up on their beaches on an often-daily basis. Oil has already been found in the states of Sergipe, Alagoas, Pernambuco and, since late August, Bahia, Brazil.

The amounts of crude oil washing up now does not seem to be as bad as it was in 2019, although it is difficult to tell because this time, the oil is washing up in smaller chucks and as millions of tiny pieces that often follow the high tide lines all the way up and down the beaches. Meanwhile, according to an article published on the Terra portal, more than 400 kilos of material was collected in Pernambuco alone. Also, in early September, residents reported having collected about 130 kilos of oil from beaches in just 3 days on the Maraú Peninsula, in southern Bahia.

Different studies have been conducted to determine whether the oil found in recent weeks could be reminiscent of the 2019 disaster, but that possibility appears to have been mostly ruled out. Studies carried out by the Federal University of Bahia and the Federal University of Pernambuco indicate that a small part of the samples collected in these states have similarities with the 2019 oil, but the rest has another origin.

The presence of oil on the beach alerts us to the problem that exists in the oceans, which can be much greater than what is seen in the sand. In addition to the impact this may have on the fauna and ocean ecosystems, contact with this type of oil can pose great risks to human health. Direct contact with crude oil can cause everything from skin irritations, breathing difficulties and headaches, to burns, diarrhea and vomiting. The effects of long-term contact with this type of substance are not yet fully understood.

Concerned about the long and short term effects of yet another environmental disaster, groups of residents of southern Bahia have organized themselves to monitor the appearance of new spots and continue to collect material daily, often with little or no support from the public authorities.

In 2008, CONAMA (National Council for the Environment) established a document that describes procedures for responding to oil spills in the oceans, known as the Individual Emergency Plan. However, this plan has never been activated, not even in 2019, which marked the worst oil spill ever recorded in Brazil’s history. With evidence that the negative effects on the country’s economy and ecology may be repeated, now is the time for public authorities, businesses and the people to act urgently to minimize the harm this will have on both humans and the environment. The importance of responding quickly to these types of environmental disasters and ensuring that they do not reoccur is also amplified by the current climate crisis facing the planet. Therefore organized, and collective actions are essential and urgent.

We created a Google form to track the Crude Oil wash ups. Please use our Google form to submit your own findings here! All findings will be published on this page.

We recommend taking pictures with the timestamp camera app on your phone (Android / iOS). This will add the exact location to the image as shown below. However, this is only a recommendation. Pictures taken with any phone or app can be uploaded. The selected town and beach in the Google form will be used as the location.

Crude Oil Image with meta data
Crude Oil image with exact location shown

Thank you for your support!

Links to Resources:,a714d311cb99cfeced4a1b65577d187epj13ji84.html