Peru declared an environmental emergency on Saturday to combat oil spills caused by anomalous waves from a volcanic eruption in the South Pacific.
Last Saturday, a surprisingly powerful eruption of a submarine volcano near Tonga unleashed a tsunami around the Pacific Ocean and far away to the United States.
In Peru, an oil spill near Lima polluted beaches, killed birds and damaged the fishing and tourism industries.
The government says a 90-day decree plans to “sustainably manage” 21 beaches tarred with 6,000 barrels of oil spilled from tanker vessels unloaded at a refinery last Saturday. Stated.
According to the Ministry of the Environment, one of the purposes of this decree is to better organize the various institutions and teams that operate in the aftermath of a disaster.
Trade and Tourism Minister Robert Sanchez estimated on Saturday that economic loss would be more than $ 50 million for all sectors combined.
The government is demanding damages from Spanish energy giant Repsol, which owns a refinery.
The Ministry of the Environment said 174 hectares (equivalent to 270 soccer fields) of the sea, beaches and nature reserves were affected by the spill.
The crew has been working for days to clean the spill.
However, the ministry said it issued an urgent order as the oil still in the water was still widespread and reached 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the location of the first spill.
“The spill represents a sudden event that has a significant impact on the highly biodiversity coastal marine ecosystems,” the Ministry of the Environment said.
In the short term, Repsol will be in charge of emergency cleaning work.
The refinery is located in the town of Bentanilla near Lima.
Repsol said the spill was caused by the anomalous waves caused by the eruption.
The company claims it is not responsible for the spill, but says the government has not warned of possible storms caused by the submarine blast.
On Saturday, Repsol issued a statement outlining a cleanup operation by 1,350 people using heavy trucks, skimmers, floating containment barriers and other equipment.
“We are making every effort to pay attention to the repair of the spill,” Repsol said.
In addition to fishing, Peru’s tourism sector has been hit hard, including everything from restaurants to beach umbrella rentals to vendors selling food and drink.
“During the normal season, from January to March (during the summer in Peru), 5 million people visit the affected beaches. The financial losses are enormous,” Sanchez said, with thousands of jobs affected. In response, the tourism department added that it was “fatal injured.”
At the pier in the town of Ancon, north of Lima, only the crew of a large boat fishing on the high seas continued to work, but the fish stalls were empty due to the lack of customers.
“Fish smells of oil above all else. People don’t buy it. They don’t eat fish because they are afraid of being poisoned by oil spills,” said Giovana Rugel. (52 years old) says. A person selling fish at the entrance of Ancon Wharf.
Last week, fishermen and other locals living in the sea and tourism protested the sudden loss of livelihoods.
http://www.gulf-times.com/story/708464/Peru-declares-environmental-emergency-on-coastal-a Peru declares an environmental emergency in the coastal area hit by an oil spill