The Pollution Control Board (PCB) on Thursday informed that the Travancore Titanium Products Ltd was late in reporting the oil leak at the factory. The PCB has submitted a report to the collector related to the incident.
According to reports, it was the fishermen who first reported the oil leak. In its report to the collector, the PCB informed that it is checking for oil spill into the sea and added that it is closely monitoring the situation. The surveillance is likely to continue for two more days, PCB said in its report.
After the oil spill was first reported, the pollution board immediately ordered the shutting down of the factory. Reports suggest that the factory will reopen once the oil spill is completely removed. The oil spill is currently 4 km off the coast.
On February 10, a glass furnace pipeline burst at a factory of the Travancore Titanium Products Ltd, a public sector unit making titanium dioxide, at Kochuveli, Thiruvananthapuram, has caused an oil leak. The burst has led to the spread of furnace oil two to three kilometres into the sea via the factory’s drainage along the Vettucaud-Shanghumughom stretch in the capital city. The Coast Guard is assessing the extent of the spread and the extent the spread has affected the sea life along the coast.
As per reports, the incident occurred post-midnight. It was the fishermen who were out at sea who spotted the oil spread and alerted the incident to the authorities Wednesday morning. Although the leakage has been blocked, the oil spread has occurred on a large scale in the sea. Locals, who claim that such leakage isn’t new, although not in such large a scale, however, say that a black tar-like liquid can still be seen seeping from the company into the sea. According to the locals, dead fishes and a tortoise were discovered along the shore.
As the fisherfolk have been directed not to venture into the sea for at least a month to fish, the community is seeking compensation from the government. Collector Navjot Khosha who visited the site has said that Shanghumughom and Veli shores and sea have been temporarily closed to the public. Meanwhile, efforts are on to remove the sand sediments along the Veli-Vettucaud stretch according to the Collector’s order. The oil had mixed with the sea sand and sedimented the coast.