Ennore’s oil spill has reached the world-renowned heritage town Mamallapuram, about 60 km south of the city.
Irish national and Mamallapuram resident Aine Edwards said she spotted blobs of oil on the main beach when she had gone to clean up the beach along with friends. “This is the main beach to the left of the Shore Temple. I am afraid it may even wash further down and may get worse in the morning. We can clean up plastics but do not know what to do with oil,” she said.
Residents are worried about the likelihood of the impact of the oil on the heritage structures in the town. Mukesh Panchanathan, who runs the Mumu Surf School in Mamallapuram, said that when he read the news about the Ennore oil spill, he did not think the oil would reach as far as his town.
“My surfers came in carrying boards that were covered with oil. Students too had to step on the oil to enter and exit the water. I am worried as to how safe the water is,” he said.
T.S. Anbumani, a fisherman of nearby Kalpakkam, said that he saw the oil blobs on Saturday evening. “My friends informed me that the coast from Kovalam to Mamallapuram has these tar blobs. Fishermen upto Marakanam are unable to sell their fish due to the scare,” he said.
On January 28, two cargo ships collided just outside the Kamarajar Port in Ennore causing an oil spill into the sea. At Pulicat, Karunakaran of the Light House Kuppam, said that fishermen had seen oil on Friday along the coastline of seven villages such as Arangamkuppam, Koonamkuppam, Thirumal Nagar and Korangkuppam. “Our families are afraid to eat the fish we catch since they are covered in oil,” he said.
Meanwhile, sources in the Coast Guard said that their helicopters had been carrying out aerial sorties for the past two days. “We have been checking the coast for any signs of the spill,” an official said. Cleaning of the boulders at Eranavur that were coated with oil began on Saturday. Meanwhile, Pollution Control Board officials from the Centre and State reviewed the clean up operations at the Kamarajar Port on Sunday.