The oil first appeared on the beaches of Brazil’s Paraiba state at the end of August. Since then, it has surfaced in nine states in the northeast, soiling pristine beaches, reefs, mangroves and wildlife in what is proving to be the country’s worst oil spill.
The culprit is still not known, although a Greek-flagged tanker is suspected of causing the catastrophe. To get photos of the disaster, which was affecting areas far from state capitals where most of the press is based, AFP’s Rio de Janeiro bureau found talented local photographers. Here are some of their stories.