Unfortunately, the city of Chennai has been dealing with a lot of unprecedented events. Events that unfold, not for anything better. The cyclone, the death of the ruling CM, the pro-Jallikattu protests, and the recent political rivalries.
To top it all off, on January 28, 2017 a day like any other typical one at the Ennore seashore, two ships MT Dawn (a ship bearing the Indian flag) and MT BW maple (a ship bearing the UK flag), one an LPG tanker and another, a petroleum tanker, collided 2 nautical miles off the Kamarajar Port, Ennore at 3:45 PM. The major hit caused the breakage in the pipeline, leading to a massive oil leak on the waters of Bay of Bengal. By the next afternoon, fishermen and other common people report the spotting of slick patches of oil on the water and the Pollution Control Board reviews the damage. The oil had soon advanced towards the coast of Marina too.
The heavy spill has since then, directly or indirectly affected the whole city. Livelihood has been lost, sea animals, have now gotten their lives obstructed by a layer of oil on their natural habitat. Though no casualties were reported and the environment was deemed safe by the Ennore Port Trust, people of the city refuse to take the risk of in taking any seafood that might have traces of the oil in it, thus the livelihood of the fisherman, also are getting affected. The government could neither hold the firms owning the ships, responsible, nor could they convict them, legally. Three days later, the firms holding the ships, appointed an oil spill response agency which eventually failed to do its task. Media coverage on the same issue was scarce, due to the ongoing political drama that unveiled itself throughout the course of the oil leak and its clean-up operations.
What came as a breath of fresh air amongst all the commotion was how the common people of Chennai, again stepped up in order to bring in a change in the state, along with the Coast Guards. Without any government support, the Indian Coast Guard led the clean up for eleven days there on, cleaning up 20 tons of oil from along the shores of Ennore. Though the coast guards were doing a better job than specialized machinery, the city as a whole faced a dilemma, whether or not to be a part, after all the political mishap that happened in the state. Not too long after that, the city and its people proved yet again that it can stand up together during the most difficult of times. People volunteered to clean up the shores, and in no time, the existing cleaning crew that was tasked with cleaning the entirety of the coastline, included people from all walks of life- ranging from students of VELS University, HIMT College, environmental NGOs like the tree foundation, fire and rescue personals, the Indian Coast Guard, and employees of Indian Oil Corporation and the people who were affected the most, Fishermen. On February 2nd there were a recorded number of 750 people standing on the rocky, slippery shores of the Ennore Beach, without any safety precautions, striving for the revival of the sea shore and the livelihoods that are dependent on it. About 60 tons of slush and oil were cleaned out by the volunteers and later the same day, reporters traveled along with the coast guards, to review the extent of the damage.
Despite the lack of government support, despite being faced with the irony of being overlapped by a political mishap, despite being an issue of greater concern, and despite being faced with a lot of blows lately, the city still managed to stand up, together and strong.
the team of coastguards and students involved in cleaning the slush. (source-google)
Image Source: Deccan Chronicle