A glass furnace pipe that broke on Wednesday (February 10) has caused a major oil spillage into the sea and contaminated the nearby coastal area in Thiruvananthapuram. The oil spillage has forced the state authorities to ban tourism and fishing activities for two days, as a precautionary measure. A furnace pipe in Travancore Titanium Products Ltd (TTP) broke after midnight, spilling oil in nearby areas from Vettukadu to Veli in Thiruvananthapuram. The civic authorities for the area, which stretches close to four kilometers, have decided to remove the oily top layer of sand.
As per the Indian Coast Guard’s initial findings, close to 2000 litres of black furnace oil has leaked into the nearby sea. The coast guards have deployed a ship C-441 and a Dornier aircraft to conduct surveillance at Veli coastal area.
The @IndiaCoastGuard Ship C-441 and Dornier aircraft conducted surveillance at Veli coastal area in relation with the oil spill occurred from Travancore Titanium Products, Veli, today.
It is estimated that about 2000 litres oil leaked into the sea. pic.twitter.com/E8m0lxCtVg
— PRO Defence Trivandrum (@DefencePROTvm) February 10, 2021
Thiruvananthapuram District Collector Navjot Khosa, who visited the area on Wednesday afternoon to take stock of the situation near the coastal areas, was quoted by ANI saying that the situation is under control. “There is no need to fear and as a precautionary measure, tourism on the beaches of Veli, Vettukadu, and Shankhumukham and fishing in the sea from these places has been banned for two days,” she said.
Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram Shashi Tharoor reacted to the oil spillage and urged the Kerala government to issue an emergency plan, “Serious environmental, marine ecology and fisherfolk’s livelihood issues following leakage of furnace oil into the sea from State-owned Travancore Titanium at Kochuveli, Thiruvananthapuram. GoK needs urgently to issue an emergency plan to contain the damage,” he said in a tweet.
Meanwhile, State Pollution Control Board in its preliminary investigations have revealed that the oil spillage has not traveled far into the sea, “The State Pollution Control Board is carefully assessing the extent of the oil spill and the problems that will be caused due to it. The Coast Guard is also an hourly check to assess how much oil has leaked into the sea.
She further said, “Preliminary reports from the Coast Guard high tide oil has not spilled too much on seas. However, oil has spread along the coast.”
Navjot Khosa has ordered the company to complete the removal of polluted soil from the coastal as well as densely populated areas expeditiously. She has further instructed the company to neutralise the site with an oil neutraliser, while the Pollution Control board is ordered to chalk out a plan with experts on how to remove the oil spillage off their coasts. Fishermen in the area have raised alarm after scores of fishes and sea turtles turned up dead on the seashore.
(With inputs from ANI)