Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Spill threatens Olive ridleys

Locals accused of burying dead turtles to avoid media glare

Oil spill from an Indonesian ship at the Gopalpur port located on the Orissa coast has endangered the lives of Olive Ridley turtles. Besides, it has contaminated the sea water, threatening lakhs of these rare species and more than 1.5 crore hatchlings that are yet to start their seaward journey from the sea beach near Rushikulya River mouth. Thousands of turtles converge on the coast for nesting and laying of eggs.

The spill was spotted by the locals, who informed the authorities. More than 7,000 litres of diesel have been immersed into the sea from the Essar-owned vessel MV Malavika on April 12. Sources say it was carrying some 32,000 tonnes of coal from Indonesia. Rabindra Sahu of the Rushikulya Sea Turtle Protection Committee is deeply concerned with the development. He said many turtles died from the oil spill. However, the officials, including Forest department and Pollution Control Board, have rubbished it. Moreover, people in the Gopalpur port are burying the dead turtles in order to hide the fact and not to attract media attention, alleged Rabindra.

Notably, the rare species of turtles prefer this river mouth along the beach instead of the famous site Gahirmatha due to the tidal wave, beach erosion and activities by the defense establishment at the ‘wheeler island’. Since 1994, the rare species of turtles had been sighted nesting here at the sea and laying lakhs of eggs along the beach near Rushikulya River mouth in Ganjam. Suratha Pahan, the chairman of Ganjam, said the oil spill is jeopardising the livelihood of thousands of fishermen living along the coast as they have been asked not to venture for fishing. Ashish Fernandes of the Green Peace said: “We are playing with fire by permitting ports in such eco-critical areas.” This has led to the gradual disappearance of these amazing creatures from the Orissa coast, added Ashish.

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Source :
IIPM Editorial, 2009

An IIPM and Professor Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist) Initiative

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