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Inferno on Water: Why Did the Gulf of Mexico Catch Fire?

Thousands on social media are concerned.
by Pia Regalado and Ara Eugenio
Jul 6, 2021
Photo/s: Screenshot/@MLopezSanMartin/Twitter

A huge fire raged for five hours on the surface of the water in the Gulf of Mexico, Mexican authorities said, leaving tens and thousands on social media concerned about the environmental costs of the inferno caused by the gas leak and a storm.

A video of the blaze, posted by Mexican journalist Manuel Lopez San Martin on July 3, drew 70 million views on Twitter, that's roughly half his country's population if they saw it at least once.

Netizens called it the "eye of fire", while some were reminded of the Eye of Sauron from the "The Lord of the Rings."

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In another video posted by San Martin, three boats were seen dousing the flames.

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State-owned oil firm Pemex said the huge blaze was a result of a series of unfortunate events: an electrical storm, heavy rains, and a gas pipe leak.

It said there was no oil spill and immediate action was taken to control the fire. In a Reuters report, PEMEX said no injuries were reported after the five-hour-long fire.

The company has started repairing the busted pipe and is investigating the cause of the gas leak.

Environmental costs

Such rare sight did not the escape the attention of meme makers on social media who, in a satirical manner, expressed concerns about the ocean environment. 

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On a serious note, climate activist Greta Thunberg on Twitter denounced authorities for allowing such pipelines be put up by corporate interests in the first place, emphasizing the threat they pose to the natural environment.

"This is the world they are leaving for us," she said.

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