Black River

CompanyFreelance
Photographermichael mullady
Prize2nd Place in Editorial / General News
Entry Description

in the Ecuadorian Amazon. For decades, oil companies, starting with Texaco (now called Chevron) in the 1960s, spilled millions of gallons of toxic wastewater and crude oil into the rain forest. To this day, hazardous waste sits in open pits, seeping into the rivers and streams of the area. The contamination has had and continues to have grim effects on the indigenous peoples of the area.

Story

Year after year passes and nothing continues to be done to clean up the deadly mess in the Ecuadorian Amazon. For decades, oil companies, starting with Texaco (now called Chevron) in the 1960s, spilled millions of gallons of toxic wastewater and crude oil into the rain forest. To this day, hazardous waste sits in open pits, seeping into the rivers and streams of the area. The contamination has had and continues to have grim effects on the indigenous peoples of the area. I spent eight weeks with them. I met old women who’d seen the growth of the oil industry in their home. I played with children who grew up with the slicks, blackened soil and wavy colors of the spills. They shared their deformities and their afflictions. They cried and told me of their sorrow. They laughed and showed their strength. I tried to capture both While Chevron battles the lawsuit that could hold the company accountable, these people suffer. Until there is an actual effort to clean up the ugliness that stains this area, an end to the pain and the grieving is far from the horizon. I hope my photos show this. I hope they offer a clear picture of the lives that have been pawned by this major pollution no one and no company will take responsibility for.