To avoid an overlap into the detailed analysis of the ecological effects after the oil spill off the Mumbai coast, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) met scientists on Saturday to chalk out an action plan.
Scientists from National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) and National Environmental Engineering and Research Institute (NEERI) will have to submit their reports in three parts — one-month interim report, rapid report in three months and comprehensive report within six months to one year.
By Wednesday, NIO and NEERI will submit their proposals and terms of reference for the impact assessment studies that have been assigned to the state pollution control board.
The NIO will study the marine impact on water quality, sediments, and marine life.
Risk assessment in terms of mangrove losses, socio-economic impact due to the spill as well as damage to the coast and habitat will be conducted by NEERI. On August 14, Minister of Environment and Forest Jairam Ramesh had visited the Elephanta Caves to assess the extent of the oil spill. Following his inspection, Ramesh had announced that NIO and NEERI would undertake an environment damage assessment of the oil spill.
On its part, the pollution board will provide the two agencies with a detailed inventory of the hazardous materials in the container. “The inventory will help because we cannot conduct the study at random,” said S.N. Gajbhiye, scientist in charge, regional centre, NIO, Bombay. “Since the recovery period is three years, we may have to extend the study.”
Based on their recommendations, MPCB will channelise the actual losses and stress the need for contingency plans to the defaulters.