Chennai Oil Spill: Complete Clean Up Process To Take 3 Weeks
Six days after two ships collided off Chennai coast on January 29, causing a massive oil spill covering the city’s coast with oil and sludge, it has been learnt that the entire cleanup process will take almost three weeks, after clearing approximately 60 tonnes of sludge mixture.
After the episode came to light, more than 500 volunteers and workers from several departments, agencies and NGOs were deployed to clear the toxic sludge mixture from the water and coasts.
It was reported yesterday the over 60 tonnes of sludge had been removed from the 30 Km shoreline from Ennore Thiruvanmiyur, which was heavily affected. As the clearing activity continues, more than 20 tonnes of the deathly mixture still have to be removed. Commandant Pradeep B Mandal, who is in charge of the cleanup operation, said another 20 tonnes was estimated to be still floating along the coast.
Fresh reports coming in today indicate that the clearing activity is far from over and will require almost three weeks. The deadly spill has been predicted to cause a huge disruption as locals and fisherman have also stepped in to help the authorities.
Exclusive drone images available with TIMES NOW show a dark patch across the affected shoreline and environmentalists have predicted the oil spill to be hazardous for fishes and other marine animals. Even after the spillage is cleaned, hazardous consequences might still prevail as consuming any fish from the affected area might prove fatal in the long run.
There was large scale uproar yesterday over how the incident happened and an investigation is also going on. Several leaders and environmentalists have raised concerns and asked the central government to intervene.
In a separate issue, it was also reported that the volunteers helping in the clean up activity were not provided precautionary gear, putting their life in jeopardy.
DMK MP Kanimozhi raised the issue in Parliament claiming lack of coordination during the clean-up process and has sought that a probe be ordered into the collision of the ships.
“I would like to bring to the notice of the House that different organisations of the government are not coming together when damage like this happens. And there are reports that indicate that around 35 kilometres of the Chennai coastline have been polluted and marine life, including turtles and fish, have died and the ecosystem has been irreparably damaged,” Kanimozhi stated in the Parliament.
The DMK MP also stated that there is a lack of coordination between those responsible for the cleaning of the coast and that locals had to resort to removing the oil with the help of buckets.
“There is confusion whether the coast guard or the Kamarajar port authorities should lead the cleaning operations. Initially, the coast guard used two submersible pipes to remove the oil. At some point. the workers and locals were scooping out the oil with buckets. There is a clear lack of coordination between the coast guard, port authority and the fishing ministry,” Kanimozhi added.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on environment has now taken suo motu cognisance of the oil spill.
Environment Experts have raised a red flag over this oil spill and have warned that this could have serious consequences.
Meanwhile, the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services, Hyderabad, which has been tracking the oil spill trajectory through computer models, found that the 30km coastline from Ennore to Thiruvanmiyur has been impacted by the slick.
The research body is running models to study the long-term effects of the spill on the environment.
Fishermen whose livelihood has been affected due to the oil spill are likely to sit out for another week.
Coast Guard, Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) and Fisheries department are involved in the operations to remove the oil spill manually and also monitoring its spread.
The coast line of the sea water has blackened and some fishes and turtles were found dead near the shoreline in the aftermath of the incident. And, the fishermen in the locality cannot venture into the sea for fishing.