Environment minister Jairam Ramesh and the Director General of Shipping have initiated probes into the oil spill that took place when two Panamanian merchant ships collided off the Mumbai coast resulting in an oil spill.
With more than 200 litres of hydraulic oil spilled into the sea after the collision there is apprehension that the environmental effects of this spill should be minimised.
Dr Rakesh Kumar, heading National Environmental Engineering Research Institute insists that given the wide water expanse, the amount of oil spill is small.
“The oil will either dissipate or form par balls and sink to the bottom in 2-3 days,” said Dr Kumar.
But ToxicsWatch Alliance pointed out, “By now there should have been a plan of action in place to mnimise the damage from the oil spill. The Mumbai Port is an extremely busy port. We demand to know how the spill is being monitored.”
He added, “Are the port authorities planning to disperse it, break it up or mop it up. Does the Mumbai Port have a mechanism in place to deal with disasters such as this. The public needed to be told which way is the oil flowing but so far nothing has been forthcoming.” Gopal Krishna of the Toxic Watch Alliance is equally perturbed at why no corrective actions have been put in place.
“The International Maritime Organisation has laid down a clear protocol on how to handle oil spills.” So far, nothing seems to have been put in place.” Dr Sarang Kulkarni, a marine biologist claims, “A 200-litre oil spill will have negligible impact on the marine life. A major impact can be seen if there is oil spill of over 1,000 to 2,000 litres.”
The collision took place when MV Khalijia was sailing towards the Mumbai Port Trust off the Mumbai harbour for berthing.
Aug 09th, 2010 - Rashme Sehgal
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