Cyclone Michaung has left behind a trail of destruction and for the environmentalists, the Oil mixed with rainwater that flowed through a stormwater drain on Manali High Road, Tiruvottiyur in North Chennai is a huge concern.
After a video of dark oil flowing through floodwater in the Ennore area went viral on social media that showed the oil sludge was spread over 5 km along the Manali industrial estate and residential areas, the concerned authorities have swung into action.
The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) sent its observer to inspect the area of oil leak in Ennore Creek and has submitted fact fact-finding report.
The TNPCB team observed that the inundated premises of Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited (CPCL), which had oily matter on the ground of its premises got mixed with rainwater flowing through the stormwater drain.
The ingress of oil mainly occurred from the stormwater drain from the Manali industrial area confluence with Buckingham Canal, the TNPCB team observed, and added that the traces of oil in the Buckingham Canal were mainly on its banks. The pollution board team suggested that the removal of stagnated water containing oil will be eliminated once it is pumped out.
Meanwhile, the Southern Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has ordered a six-member committee to inspect the areas in the Ennore-Manali region where there were oil spills. Hearing a suo motu case on the oil spill the NGT Bench ordered the committee to directly inspect the site and collect samples of the oil film in the residential area and submit a detailed report on the chemicals found at the earliest.
The flood waters swirling and running through residential areas of Ennore and Eranavur had a thick film of oil covering them. This kind of oil formation with a thick layer on top has found its way inside flooded homes and people there are facing great difficulties.
Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Forests Minister M. Mathiventhan said the oil waste was from the Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited (CPCL) that had mixed into the sea, severely damaging marine resources. He added that the matter is under investigation and appropriate action will be taken.
The Manali-Ennore belt is dotted with many industries, several of them dealing with oil and chemicals have this problem every year when it rains. However, till now, no permanent solution has been found for this problem. Environmental activist says that this is a serious problem that begs national attention and wants a permanent solution.
Syed Ali Mujtaba is a member of the International Federation of Environmentalist Journalists (IFEJ) based in Chennai.