- Mystery surrounds origin of pollution in north-east
- President suggests ‘criminal act’ aims to scupper rights tender
On Monday evening, Sport Club Bahia – one of the biggest football teams in Brazil’s north-east – faced its rivals Ceará with black oil stains on their red, white and blue shirts. It was the latest sign of the growing outrage over a mystery oil spill that since early September has blighted a 2,200km stretch of some of the country’s most beautiful beaches – and the failure of President Jair Bolsonaro’s far-right government to handle the crisis.
Nobody knows where the oil is from or why it keeps washing up on Brazilian beaches. Yet while social media has been bombarded by videos of volunteers rolling up thick globs of oil in sand and putting them into plastic sacks, Bolsonaro sought to blame first Venezuela, then a “criminal action” to scupper a major oil tender. He has repeatedly attacked environmental protection agencies as a “fines industry” and has yet to visit affected areas.