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Monday, August 8, 2011

'Marine flora, fauna to have adverse impact' of MV Rak oil spill!


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August 8, 2011 / Agencies, Mumbai / DC.

Indian beachgoers walk on the oil covered shores of the Chowpatty beach in Mumbai - AFP
Indian beachgoers walk on the oil covered shores of the Chowpatty beach in Mumbai - AFP.

Despite authorities claiming that the oil spill from cargo vessel MV Rak off Mumbai coast has decreased in quantum, experts have voiced concern over the ecological impact of the spill on marine life.
"The marine biota, including flora and fauna, will certainly have negative consequences due to oil spill," Dr Swapna Prabhu, Systematic Botanist/Taxonomist with the Bombay Natural History Society, said here today.
"The coastal areas of Mumbai and some areas of Raigad have threats of oil slicks. As the oil is already evident on Juhu beach, this concern is raised," she said.
"It is very unfortunate that the oil slick is evident at the peak time of fish breeding as well as flowering and fruiting season of most of the mangrove species. Even the thin layer of oil persisting for significant time will kill marine fauna," Prabhu said.
In case the oil slick reaches mangrove patches around this coast, last year's saplings will be probably wiped out, Prabhu said.
"As this is the fruiting season, this batch of propagules if it gets contaminated with oil, will be destroyed and there will be no regeneration as a result. The consequences may affect the size of population of mangroves for long term," she said.
According to a statement by the ministry of defence here, the rate of oil spill has reduced to around 1 tonne per hour, as compared to 1.5-2 tonnes per hour on Sunday.
This has been confirmed by an hour-long aerial recce of the oil spill area in the Arabian Sea off south Mumbai conducted by the Indian Coast Guard on Monday morning.
A defence spokesman said the oil slick is visibly thin and can be seen as a broken silvery sheen extending upto two miles from the site where the cargo carrier sank on Thursday afternoon.


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