On Sunday, two ships collided along the Ennore coast, near Chennai, resulting in an oil spill. For the past three days, a thick layer of oil has covered Chennai’s coast line and beaches nearby, including its famed Marina beach.
New reports suggest that the oil spill is much bigger than was initially suspected. The Coast Guard says that 20 tonnes of oil was spilled into the sea and not 1 tonne as per earlier estimates. Pollution response teams from the Coast Guard used submersible pumps and 25 litre buckets to remove the layer of oil covering the water, but the operation is still underway.
Oil spills are a major source of pollution in water bodies. The damage they cause is permanent and often, clean-up efforts take a very long time. Chennai’s oil spill has impacted marine life in the area, with reports that dead Olive Ridley turtles have been washing ashore. Fishermen have been badly hit, as they are unable to go fishing in the sludge.
The oil spill occurred at 4 am on January 28, when MT BW Maple, a ship from the Isle of Man, hit Indian ship MT Dawn, which was loaded with petroleum oil lubricant.
A look at the how the Coast Guard is tackling the oil spill: