Chennai: While Coast Guard officials announced to have removed 90 per cent of the oil slick that floated along the Chennai coast, port authorities began the disposal operations on Saturday.
Over 150 tonnes of oil sludge collected from the beaches of Chennai were dumped in the pit dug to carry out the bioremediation procedure, said officials from the research and development wing of the Indian Oil Corporation.
The wing, which shared the bioremediation technology called Oilivorous - S is, monitored the works on the day 2 of the disposal operations. “The pit 1.5 feet deep, dug in a land of 2000 square metre was covered with the oil contaminated sand and the sludge in layers. We are yet to sprinkle the bacterium that will eat up the oil and convert it to mud in three months,” said head of operations, IOC, Tamil Nadu, K. S. Rao
Meanwhile, minister of state (Shipping), Pon Radhakrishnan inspected the beaches of Marina, Elliot's and Ernavoor and Kamarajar port to held discussions with the chairman of Chennai port, P. Raveendran and Commander, Coast Guard Region (East) Inspector General Rajan Bargotra about the clean up operations.
Expressing confidence to clean the pollution in three weeks, Coast Guard authorities said, "Massive cleaning operations are being carried out. After removing the sludge, oil on the rocks would be cleaned."
"Except for R.K. Nagar Kuppam and other places to north of Chennai port, the coast line is completely clean," Chennai port chairman, P. Raveendran told this newspaper.
The minister has also inspected MT Dawn Kanchipuram, the vessel that collided with MT Maple last Saturday, resulting in the oil pollution. He also inspected the engine room of MT Kanchipuram and held discussions with the Captain and other authorities of the ship.
Following the hue and cry of environmental activists, the Chennai port collected samples of seawater from different locations. "There is no pollution visible. We will be sending it to the laboratory on Monday for testing," said Raveendran.
However, officials from Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) took no initiatives for the testing.
“Testing can be done only after the clean-up operations are completed. Oil pollution is visible now. What’s the point in testing?” asked an official seeking anonymity.