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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.