Chennai's Oil Spill Spreading, Say Experts, Amid Massive Clean-Up Effort
Nearly a week after the oil spill caused by two ships colliding off Chennai's coast on Saturday, 60 tonnes of sludge has been removed by hundreds of volunteers, including engineering students and coast guard men.
The oil spill, spread by strong winds and waves, has crossed the Marina Beach and is moving to other beaches in Chennai.
Over 20 tonnes of thick oil spilled into the Bay of Bengal when the ships collided near Chennai's Kamarajar Port, affecting the marine life and a 30-km stretch of shoreline.
chennai oil spill clean up drum
Workers are collecting the slick from the Chennai oil spill into large vats.
The Coast Guard said: "It is estimated that more than 20 tonnes of oil has spilt from MT Dawn Kanchipuram as against the initial report of two-three tonnes."
Close to a thousand workers, including volunteers from engineering colleges and fishermen, are using their bare hands to clear the thick sludge that machines have failed to remove. Coast guard ships and choppers are spraying oil spill dispersants and neutralisers.
Half the oil has been cleared, officials said yesterday. Questions are being raised on whether precious time was lost because the port authorities denied any oil spill at first.
chennai oil spill clean up
The oil spill near Chennai in Tamil Nadu has spawned a massive clean-up operation.
The ships, MT Maple and MT Dawn, were carrying Liquefied Petroleum Gas and petroleum oil lubricant.
Environmentalists are worried because nearly half a dozen turtles have died in the polluted area.
Volunteers, many of them in orange jumpsuits, are seen lifting oil mixed with sand with their hands, without any protective gear, and collecting it in vats and bags.
Three much-hyped suction machines didn't work as they pumped out more water than sludge.
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