In Pics: Chennai’s coast after oil spill

These pictures from the ground show the magnitude of the environmental disaster that workers and those living by the sea are dealing with.

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Two cargo ships collided off Chennai coast on January 29 resulting in heavy oil spilling at the coast area. The cleanup operation is underway which is aided by local people.

What are oil spills?

An escape of oil into the sea or other body of water. Oil usually floats on saltwater and on freshwater (rivers and lakes). Very heavy oil can sometimes sink in freshwater, but this happens very rarely. Oil usually spreads out rapidly across the water surface to form a thin layer called as oil slick. As the oil continues spreading, the layer becomes thinner and thinner, finally becoming a very thin layer called a sheen.

Effect of an oil spills?

Oil spills can be very harmful to marine birds and mammals and also can harm fish and shellfish.

How to prevent oil spills?

Depending upon the amount of oil spilled, there are various methods to tackle it. By using booms, skimmers, sorbents, in situ burning or by washing oil off beaches with either high-pressure or low-pressure hoses, vacuum trucks etc.

How oil spills are caused?

Oil spills are caused by accidents involving tankers, barges, pipelines, refineries, drilling rigs, and storage facilities. It can also be caused by natural disasters such as hurricanes.

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