By SM .10 Feb, 2021
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A glass furnace pipe of the Travancore Titanium Products Ltd factory burst and furnace oil flowed into the sea here. As per reports, the furnace oil spread into the sea from Veli to Puthukuruchy. The extent of the spill is being assessed by the Coast Guard.
The leakage occurred by 1 am early on Wednesday. The fisherfolk, who were engaged in fishing in the sea, saw the furnace oil spread in the sea and alerted the authorities. The pipe was found leaking in an inspection carried out by them. They have blocked the leakage.
However, it is learned that the oil has spread on a large scale into the sea. The Coast Guard is inspecting the depth of the oil leakage. The fishermen have been directed not to venture into the sea where the leakage has occurred. The locals have already asked for compensation.
The TTPL management has officially stated that the leak has been sealed. However, locals said that a black tar like liquid could still be seen seeping from the company into the sea. Black sediments of the furnace oil, deposited back by the waves, could be seen along long stretches of the shore behind the TTPL like black wave marks.
Pollution Control Board has directed the TTPL to remove on a war footing the sand and oil deposits that the waves have thrown back to the shore. Top PCB officials said the natural action of the waves pushing the spilled oil back to the shore would act as an automatic cleansing mechanism.
The plan is to gather the oil sediments and store it in a place from where it would not leak back into the sand. However, the extent of the oil spread is still not clear.
Locals said they had experienced an intense smell in the night. "Early morning, we found dead fishes scattered along the beach. A dead tortoise was also seen along the beach, in between the Vettucaud Church and Titanium factory."
MLA V S Sivakumar and others carried out an inspection in the place. He informed that the fishermen cannot go fishing for about two months as the oil had spread there. As they would be in crisis due to this situation, the government should provide them help, the MLA demanded.
Meanwhile, the district collector Dr. Navjot Khosa informed that the public and the tourists are temporarily banned from entering the Veli and Shanghumugham beaches due to oil leakage.