Peru Environmental Emergency

25 January 2022.


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.


  • 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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