Oil spill in the south of France: biodiversity under threat
In the plain of Crau, a unique Mediterranean ecosystem, 3 to 4000 m3 of oil leaked accidentally from a pipeline which crosses a National Nature Reserve area.
Within the fossil delta of the Durance, La Crau, with its famous dry steppe - “coussouls ", is a unique ecosystem in France, is part of the Natura 2000 Network of protected areas in Europe, and an Important Bird Areas (IBA) according to BirdLife International.
The sudden burst of 3 to 4,000 m3 of oil will cause an important impact on species, destruction and degradation of the "Coussouls" and biodiversity loss in general.
Several environment organizations commented on the accident, highlighting how important it is to strengthen the control of the state of old pipelines such as this one and to ensure that polluters face their responsibilities.
According to Allain Bougrain Dubourg, president of the LPO (BirdLife in France), “it is urgent that the pipelines crossing remarkable and protected sites such as this reserve should be displaced to avoid environmental accidents and pollution"
The Crau National reserve is the only example of steppe in France, and in Western Europe, therefore it is among the European sites which should have the highest level of protection.
CEEP, co-manager of the nature reserve together with the Chamber of Agriculture Bouches-du-Rhone, commented: "The destruction of this habitat is irreversible, as it has been created over 10.000 years. Moreover, among the expected impacts, we are concerned about the air pollutants which will spread over an even wider area than the one affected by the spill”.
Now it is essential to assess the impact of the accident, and to attribute responsibility for the accident and to try to reconstitute the habitats of this very remarkable area.
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Credits: LPO (BirdLife in France)