Logistics

Mangroves bear the brunt of Mumbai oil spill: Report

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on January 25, 2011

‘Mangroves were badly affected in areas such as Rewas, Vashi, Elephanta, Uran and Karanja. There is hardly any sign of their regeneration.'





Last August's ship-collision near the Mumbai coast that led to one of the worst oil spills in recent times has destroyed 1,273 hectares of mangroves along the Mumbai and Raigad coast, says an interim report by the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS).

The report was commissioned by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests after the merchant ships MSC Chitra and MV Khalija collided near Uran's shore on August 9, 2010.

Massive leak

An estimated 400 to 500 tonnes of oil leaked from one of the ship's fuel tank. An unspecified number of containers with hazardous chemicals, including pesticides, also tumbled into the sea.

The accident had led to major bottlenecks in the Mumbai harbour. The merchant traffic was restored after four days under Navy supervision.

The Deputy Director of BNHS, Mr Deepak Apte, told Business Line that the mangroves were badly affected in areas such as Rewas, Vashi, Elephanta, Uran and Karanja. There is hardly any sign of their regeneration. Only a few fiddler crabs are now seen at Elephanta.

“The regeneration of the mangroves has completely failed. We will have to wait till July/ August when the next seeding of mangroves takes place,” Mr Apte said.

Final report

Mr Apte was also quick to add that currently BNHS has only given an interim report; a final report will be available by November, “By then it will be possible to give a complete picture. If mangroves don't regenerate after the monsoon season then we (BNHS) could even suggest artificial replanting of mangroves,” Mr Apte said.

He added that about 90 per cent of the oil had been washed away from the site during the monsoon rains.

> rahulw@thehindu.co.in

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Published on January 25, 2011
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