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Mud from Brazil Dam Burst May Have Reached Abrolhos Marine Park in Bahia State

01/08/2016 - 10h37

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FROM BRASÍLIA

Satellite images and aerial inspections showed that the stain of mud originated from the dam burst in Mariana, in Minas Gerais State, may have reached the Abrolhos archipelago, in South of Bahia, one of the areas of greatest diversity of corals in the Atlantic.

The information was published on Thursday (7) by the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Ibama) and the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio) that manages the marine park.

According to Ibama's president Marilene Ramos, in the last two days strong winds moved the mud from the South Coast of Espírito Santo to the North Coast of the State, hitting the South of Bahia.

"We made an inspection in Abrolhos and we saw the presence of a mud, which by its visual aspect seems to be the very stain that extends through Espírito Santo," she said.

Samarco - a joint-venture between Vale and English-Australian BHP Billiton - was notified to collect samples on site. Abrolhos and Ibama technicians are also testing samples to check the source of the material. The results should be released within 10 days.

Although Ibama and ICMBio cannot yet rule out other hypotheses, they say it is "very likely" that the mud is from the environmental disaster caused by the dam that burst in Mariana in November.

According to Ramos, the mud spread from the mouth of the Doce River to Abrolhos.

"Field observations show it is connected to the mud that comes from Doce River", says ICMBio's president Claudio Maretti.

However, he says the sediments could also be caused by erosion, hence the need for analysis.

Translated by JULIANA CALDERARI

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