Thousands of hectares of potato and corn gone to waste: blame climate change says Peru Environment Ministry

Approximately 80,000 hectares of potato and 60,000 hectares of corn crops that would have nourished up to 11 million Peruvians have gone to waste during the past 12 harvests because of climate change and soil degradation, Peru’s Environment Ministry said Monday.

Polluting gases spewed out by large industry have caused the earth to heat up, glaciers to melt, sea levels to rise and new diseases to appear, daily El Comercio reported, citing the Environment Ministry’s 2009 National Environmental Study.

In Peru, home to 70 percent of Earth’s tropical glaciers, water is a dire issue. The country’s glaciers, which feed hydroelectric plants and provide drinking water to Lima, the world’s second largest desert city after Cairo, Egypt, are in the process of accelerated meltdown due to global warming.

According to Peru’s National Resources Institute, or Inrena, the Andes Mountains have lost at least 22 percent of their glacier area since 1970.

In 2007, Irena’s Glaciological Unit reported that the Broggi Glacier, located atop Cordillera Blanca — the largest glacier chain in the tropics – had completely disappeared. And, in 2008, just two years after residents and local authorities first sounded the alarm, climate change was blamed for the complete disappearance of Quilca Mountain’s snow cap.

The lack of snow atop Quilca Mountain is likely to cause water shortages in the region, especially for populations living around the mountain.

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