CPR Environmental Education Centre has said the oil spill along the coast of Chennai on Sunday opened up a Pandora’s Box on pollution response and conservation of marine organisms.
“The oil spill due to the collision of two cargo ships at the entry point of Kamarajar port, Ennore, spilled up 100 tonnes of Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) – commonly known as bunker oil – on to the surface of the sea,” it said in a statement.
“The oil slick spread was around 24.06 kms between Ennore and Thiruvanmiyur. In another two days, due to ocean dynamics, the slick is likely to move northwards.
The scientific management of oil spill and consequent slick suggests employing immediate measure in the golden hour.
It includes: Cofferdam arrangement, booms and skimmers, Oil Spill Dispersant (OSD) to solidify the slick for easy removal and disintegration Oil washed ashore can be managed by breaking it down by biodegradation Natural breakdown
The immediate pollution response of the concerned agencies has been confusing and not up to solving the oil slick. As per the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) report, the handling agency, Coast Guard appears to have cleared 1.1 metric tonnes. But 0.3 tonnes is still floating and 0.6 tonne is expected to evaporate.
The media reports vary on the amount of slick removed and retained on the ocean surface. It also reveals that the Coast Guard requested the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) to activate oil spill crisis management group. The immediate impact on the biota is immense and long lasting. Already 21 Olive Ridley turtles are washed ashore dead and many species of marine organisms are under great threat. The ill effects on the organisms are long lasting and multifold.
Urgent action must be taken to contain further spread of the oil slick and to remove the spilled oil. The present ecological catastrophe highlights a lack of emergency response and plan by the concerned agencies. Further delay may lead to unimaginable loss to the ecology and deprivation of livelihood for many people.”