February 3rd, 2017
Chennai is once again setting a glorious example of the power of its unity and compassion by cleaning up the shoreline of the city that has been hit by an oil spill due to a collision of two ships near the Kamarajar Port.
As many as 1,025 of personnel from multiple government and non-government agencies have braved the hot sun, engaged relentlessly and have made substantial progress by removing 40 tonnes of oil with sludge and 27 tonnes of oil and water mixture, as reported by the Coast Guard.
The volunteers include members of the Coast Guard, Tamil Nadu Police Coastal Security Group, pollution control board, fire and rescue department, state Highways, Port Trust, Corporation, Panchayat, local volunteers from various colleges and universities and also the fishermen of the surrounding area.
ICGS Varad, the ship of Coast Guard, was deployed on Thursday that did the spill assessment and neutralisation.
The Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar and senior government officials conducted an inspection in the area after it was reported that people were worried to buy seafood as fish were dead due to the incident.
“It is not true. People need not fear to consume fish. It is our duty to allay such fears. Therefore, we took some samples of the dead fish from Ennore, Marina, Thiruvanmiyur areas where there were reports of the oil slick. The results from the laboratory have clarified that it is safe to consume,” said Jayakumar to the reporters.
What led to the oil spill?
On January 28, two cargo ships, MT BW Maple and MT Dawn, collided each other. The former was loaded with LPG, while the latter was carrying petroleum oil lubricant (POL). Although the port authorities had initially reported that there were no casualties, injuries or damage to the environment, later it was confirmed that the shoreline in Chennai was hit by an oil spill.
The Logical Indian salutes all the volunteers who have been actively working to clear the oil spill in the coastline of the Chennai. We would like to share that those who are volunteering must take precautionary measures for themselves before they go on to clear the oil sludge. Coming in contact with tarballs and oily patches can lead to dermatitis, skin cancer and other health effects in the immediate, near and long terms. Workers and volunteers should be protected from chemical, physical and psychological hazards posed by the spill. Crude oil contains toxicity and can prove to be carcinogenic for humans.
Please read this document before volunteering to know more about the safety measures to be taken.