Yikes Mumbai you're getting smellier! Penalize & make companies liable for oil spills around Mumbai.
Mahul Creek, a tidal creek located around Chembur and Mahul in north-west Mumbai, is surrounded by oil refineries such as BPCL Refinery, TATA Power Company and a few others.
In between all these oil refineries sits Mahul village. A large number of people in this village depend on fishing to earn their daily wages.The fishermen from Mahul catch fish in the creek from Mahul to the Trombay area. In addition to this the government has also granted permission to the fishermen to enter the lands owned by the refineries to carry out their fishing activities.
Since there are numerous refineries around the area, a large amount of effluents and discharged oil is always present in the water. However, in the past 7-8 months the amount of leakages has increased drastically. Usually when an oil spill occurs, the pipelines are surveyed for leakages and the surveyors stay in the village for a month during this period.However, in this case they were unable to find the source of this particular leakage for a long time.
The leakage has caused severe damage to the ecosystem and marine life. Fishermen have not been able to catch fish properly as the oil coats their nets and ruins them. They also had to stop fishing completely for 2 months as the oil spill made it impossible to fish without damaging their nets or finding decent catch. The fishermen use very large and expensive nets to catch their fish – about 40 men are needed to manage a single fishing net – and hence they cannot risk damaging their nets.
The oil coating the surface of the water also results in the death of many fish and other marine life. Usually when there is a spill a large amount of marine life is affected; as the tide moves. the oil spreads across which affects the quality and quantity of fish. The stench of the oil often sticks to the fish which reduces the price drastically; for a catch that could earn Rs.5000, they end up getting only Rs.500. Also, even if the oil is cleaned up, the smell of oil on the fish remains.The oil spill is a big impediment to their livelihood as the villagers mostly depends on fishing and related activities.
The oil spill has also destroyed the mangroves which were abundant in this region. The mangroves surrounding this area have been completely burnt down and destroyed, also causing long term damage to the saplings. Research has estimated that between 20 to 30 acres of mangroves along a 2 kilo-meter stretch of the coast have been destroyed, also adding that the chances of them growing back are remote. The sludge collected in this area is very thick and could cover the entire village. There are also several health repercussions that the villagers could face because of the leakage.
Since the oil was not removed in time, the entire area has been affected. The companies always pass the buck and delay clean-up operations which in-turn destroys marine life, ecosystem and the livelihood of hundreds of people .