Peru Environmental Emergency

Peru is a South American country. The Government of Peru recently declared an environmental emergency due to oil spill. The emergency is to last for 90 – days!

What happened?

Around six thousand barrels of oil were spilled into the Pacific Ocean. A tanker of Repsol, a Spanish Energy firm, was transporting oil to Vantinalla refinery in Peru. The name of the tanker is “Mare Doricum”. It is an Italian tanker. The oil spill occurred due to the explosion of undersea volcano Tonga. According to NASA, the Tonga volcano eruption is more powerful than an atom bomb.  The tsunami waves from the explosion caused the oil spill.

Damages caused

  • The oil spill killed huge number of marine wildlife. It has left a huge impact on the local fishermen. Also, it is to affect the tourism sector largely.
  • Around 2,384 cubic metres of sand is affected by the oil spill.
  • The total economic losses are estimated to be more than 50 million USD.
  • Around 713 hectares of sea has been affected.

Impact on Biodiversity

  • The oil spill has threatened the survival of Humboldt penguins. These penguins are listed as “vulnerable” species by the IUCN.
  • The fish in the region is carrying oil smell. The crustaceans that feed on the fish are badly affected.

Humboldt Penguins

The Humboldt Penguins were added to the Mumbai Byculla Zoo in September 2021. They have large bare skin patches around their eyes. This adaptation of the penguin helps to keep them cool. They are endemic to  the coasts of Peru and Chile. They are named after the Humboldt Current. CITES has listed the Humboldt penguins under Appendix I. The appendix I has the list of extinct species.

Peru is rich in biodiversity

The Humboldt is a cold current. It is a low salinity current. It flows along the coast of Peru and Chile towards the north. The ocean water in the region is filled with planktons because of the current.

Guano: It is an organic fertilizer. As the coastal area is rich in biodiversity, the excrement of birds, dolphins and other animals are used as organic fertilizers called Guano.

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