KARACHI: The oil spill on the coastal belt, spreading from Mubarak Village to Manorah, has started affecting marine life. According to World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan (WWF-Pakistan), green turtles, crabs and several types of fish have been found dead on the shore in the last two days.
A non-governmental organisation, WWF-Pakistan, which works for the protection of environment and marine life has expressed suspicion over the presence of thick oil in sea and at the beach. According to a WWF-Pakistan spokesperson, oil can be seen spreading from Mubarak Village to Manorah over the last two days.
Cleaning up an oil spill is extremely difficult. The solid state in which the oil is present in the sea and offshore areas, makes its cleaning difficult, and requires patience and hard work, said WWF-Pakistan Technichal Director Muhammad Moazzam Khan. The institutions responsible for this should take immediate measures to remove this oil from the sea, because the continuous presence of oil in the sea will have hazardous effects on marine life. This oil can destroy the ecosystem of the sea. According to WWF-Pakistan, the origin of the oil spill is unknown as yet. However, its samples have been sent to the laboratory.
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah also took notice of the pollution in the sea and directed the Sindh Fisheries Department to contact relevant institutions and submit a report regarding the damage to marine life. Shah said that practical measures should be taken in collaboration with relevant federal institutions to end sea pollution.
Local fishermen reported an oil slick near Churna Island on Wednesday which had beached on Mubarak village by Thursday morning and Sandspit beach by afternoon. The oil seems to have weathered and turned into semi-solid tar indicating that it might have been released a few days back, said WWF-Pakistan.
Oil spills disrupt marine life and have an impact on the ecosystem years after a spill occurs. Initially, after the spill, oil covers everything from beach sand to rocks at the bottom of the sea, killing most of the marine life. Sea birds, which cannot relocate, get oil on their feathers and cannot maintain their body temperature. Dolphins and whales also cannot breathe in an oil spill as the oil clogs their blowholes. An oil spill has the worst toll on fish, particularly if the oil comes in contact with fish eggs.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 27th, 2018.