Days after the toxic oil spill in Ennore port in Chennai, the coastguards involved in the clean-up believe that it may take up to 12 days to clear the sludge from Ennore port alone. The spill on Chennai's coastline, the coastguard claim has almost been cleared.
"We were informed of the collision on January 28, and launched helicopter operations immediately. The coast guard has been dispersing the oil and neutralising it. The oil spill has spread and 19 helicopter sorties have been launched to see over the situation. Almost 90 per cent of the spill in north Chennai has been cleared. Ennore alone will take 10 or 12 days to clean up," said Rajan Bargotra, IG, coast guard on Friday.
About 2,800 litres of oil spill dispersant has been used to neutralise the spill in Chennai. The major collection of the sludge has been close to the shore with rocks and sand being affected by the deposits. The coastguard assured that the Marina stretch would be cleaned up by Saturday but the real challenge lies in R K Kuppam area.
"Oil is accumulating at R K Kuppam and the thick sludge that has been formed is a posing a challenge. As of today, 72 tonnes of sludge has been removed from R K Kuppam and 42 tonnes were from the beach. In all an estimate on accumulation stands at 170 tonnes," he added.
After facing severe criticisms by environmentalist and rights activists alike, scientists have now been asked to visit the oil spill location to suggest the best way forward. Agents to help the bio
degradation of the spill is being considered and the authorities suggest that the entire sludge will be reduced to sand, but the entire process is time-consuming.
Authorities also suggested that investigations have been launched into the matter and the actual quantity of oil spill will be ascertained only after reports are filed. While acknowledging that the spill will leave a lasting damage on the environment and marine life, authorities said that the accident was huge and the spill was minor in comparison.
Brushing aside the possibilities of the oil spill resulting in the death of turtles, authorities maintained that while turtles are expected to visit the shore for nesting purposes, it was unlikely that the oil spill caused any deaths, a statement that environmentalists were in agreement.