It has been over a month now when the Chennai oil spill disaster was reported. It left many people concerned as Chennai is a coastal region. The sea provides livelihood to people, and the fresh water fish consumption is a big business here. Even though the concerned authorities tried hard to mislead the state government, media and the public, a recent report has blown up the cover. The revealed facts are shocking.
At the time when all of us expected things to be under control, we have come to know that it is a massive cover up. The Indian Coast Guard Report that it is not 2 tonnes of oil spill, but the floating oil slick is 150 tonnes. The Indian Coast Guard observes that it would have been more than 150 tonnes.
Covering up of such facts by the concerned authorities (of Ennore Port Management) is dangerous and a potential disaster. Fish is staple diet of Chennai, and what did the authorities expect, that people should consume poison and fall sick? This is a more worrisome situation as concealing facts reflect on our administration poorly.
Our question is-what will happen to the people of Chennai now? Will they be forced to eat poison? What will the fisherman do to earn? Are the authorities prepared to deal with economic mess? Are they technically equipped to handle the mess? What will be the legal action by the state government?
By choosing not to report the exact oil spill, the port administration has only compounded the problem. It is obvious that the spilled oil has not been cleaned up as yet. If the official numbers show only 2 tonnes, the authorities have not bother to clean the remaining oil. This has now led to a situation in which oil spreads further in the water, and with each passing day it becomes more difficult to clean up the mess. The state does not have any modern equipment to efficiently clean up the oil slick.
There is an urgent need to take matters in control. The whole eco-system suffers at the hands of select marine authorities. By trying to cover up the disaster, the Ennore Port Management has endangered the existing life. The culprits should be brought to books by the state government, for negligence and endangering human lives.
Times Now has accessed the affidavit filed by the Tamil Nadu Government Environment & Forest department Secretary Atulya Misra which clearly reveals that it was the Ennore Kamarajar port’s negligence that resulted in this massive accident oil spill tragedy off the Ennore coast.
The report confirms that it was the ‘Heavy fuel oil tank’ of MT Dawn Kanchipuram that was damaged causing a massive oil slick in the Bay of Bengal. The hidden facts were revealed after the state government served a show cause notice to the Ennore Port Management.
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has also confirmed the facts further. It too opines that the damage is more than what has been reported. The sea water is heavily polluted and not fit for use.
The next step of action recommended includes continuous monitoring of sea water quality. It should be deemed fit after an authorized laboratory check. CPCB has also suggested to closely monitoring all commercial or industrial activities on the sea route.
However, this matter is of grave concern, as the technical capabilities of assessing disasters of this magnitude, is not sufficient. The state might not even have adequate laboratories to measure the water quality. In addition, there is no future guarantee that such disasters can be handled appropriately ahead. Steps need to be taken for treatment of sludge collected in the beach or shoreline. The safe disposal of sludge needs to be monitored at the disaster site.
While the Central Pollution Control Board has issued a notice to its counterpart in Tamil Nadu; the big question of exactly how much oil leaked into the sea due to the accident still remains unanswered.