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Social manifestations and their impact on the environment

By: Yajaira Castillo Acosta (@byunnoir) and Roberto Castro (@roberto.castro01)

Social manifestations have caused staggered impacts in the economic, political, and socio-environmental sectors at the national level, being the object of external criticism. Regarding the environment, there has been an observation of certain events that cause damage to our society. Such is the case of burning tires, pipeline breaks, and the use of tear gas bombs.

Regarding the burning of tires, it is a very dangerous source of pollution because it emits gasses that contribute to the greenhouse effect and also cause respiratory problems in people. According to Babativa & Holguín (2017), burning tires releases compounds such as carbon monoxide (CO), sulfur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that promote climate change. Likewise, there is a risk of contamination of the soil since the residues remain in it after a fire, thus generating the leaching of ashes. Moreover, the National Institute of Health (2018) comments that exposure to tire combustion can often cause asthma attacks, suffocation, burning throat, chemical conjunctivitis, and secretions in the nose and lungs.

On the other hand, according to the Chemical Weapons Convention, tear gas is a chemical agent allowed to disperse protests or riots; however, it cannot be used in warfare. With this, during the demonstrations it has been possible to gather that “Only in the last ten days, the forces of order have used nine tons of tear gas in the south of the country. If we consider the last two months of riots, more than 50 tons of gas would have been used.” (Cárdenas, 2023) having as a consequence, in the short and long term, damage to the biological cycle, photosynthesis, metabolism, and pollination due to the mini-greenhouse effect and that despite being a non-lethal weapon these can cause fires.

Likewise, the cut of pipes causes a serious deterioration to the environment due to the transfer of oil that has been extracted, during the last months there have been several cuts of pipes through the protests affecting three rivers in the Amazon area as well as 16 Andean communities. According to a statement by Petroperú, the consequences of the damage to the North Peruvian Pipeline are from the oil spill in the surrounding areas which "causes the poisoning of living organisms due to toxic components" (Noblecilla, 2022), until it causes a large explosion because since it is highly flammable.

Moreover, soil contamination and people's health are also at risk when the waste management service is suspended, becoming areas of high risk of contamination, since it promotes the proliferation of rodents, cockroaches, and flies that are transmitters of diseases (Ministry of Health, 2019). In addition to this, it generates the deterioration of environments such as streams, rivers, parks, etc., thus releasing pollutants into the atmosphere, leaching pollutants into groundwater tables, and reducing the capacity of aeration or water retention in soils (Melo, A., 2019; VOLTA, 2019).

Despite the lack of investigation regarding the relationship between manifestations and the environment, there is serious contamination being carried out by the actors involved, causing collateral damage, in addition to leaving in evidence the non-existence of a strategic plan that implies reducing this damage.


Ministerio de Salud (2019, 20 de agosto). La acumulación de residuos sólidos puede generar afectaciones a la salud de la población. [Nota de Prensa].

Babativa & Holguín (2017). Evaluación de la afectación en la calidad del aire por el incidente de quema accidental de llantas usadas en la localidad de Fontibón - Bogotá en el año 2014. Recuperado de

Instituto Nacional de Salud (2018). ¿Por qué la quema de llantas daña tanto la salud? Recuperado de

VOLTA (2019, 8 de mayo). 4 impactos ambientales de un mal manejo de residuos. Recuperado de

Melo, A. (2019). Problemática ambiental por mal manejo de residuos sólidos domésticos en el municipio de Galapa. Recuperado de

Infobae (2023, 17 de febrero). Derrame de petróleo por corte de tubería no puede ser contenido por bloqueo de manifestantes en Amazonas. Recuperado de

Iagua (2023, 8 de febrero). La violencia social afecta al medioambiente de las ciudades peruanas. Recuperado de:

OHMYGEEK (2019, 10 de noviembre). ¿Por qué generan incendios las bombas lacrimógenas? Recuperado de:

Universidad de Piura. (2022, 31 de enero). Dos profesores de la Universidad de Piura, Luis Noblecilla y Gastón Cruz, sostienen que la biodiversidad marina es la más afectada ante esta problemática como las aves y mamíferos acuáticos, así como las especies costeras. Recuperado de:,la%20que%20pertenecen%20estas%20especies.

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