Environ minister tones down oil spill impact on Sunderbans

Environ minister tones down oil spill impact on Sunderbans

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Environment and Forests Minister Anwar Hossain Manju on Friday said the oil-spill impacts on the Sundarbans’ biodiversity are not as adverse as it was feared.
“The biodiversity and the aquatic animals have surely been affected by the oil slick caused following the oil spillage from the tanker when it crashed in the Shela River of the Sundarbans. Now it appears that the extent of losses due to the oil spill is not as large as it was assumed in the beginning,” he said.The minister was talking to reporters while inspecting the oil-slick affected areas on Friday, 10 days after the oil tanker ‘Southern Star-7’ crashed in the river after having hit by a cargo vessel.
Claiming that no wild animal or aquatic species has died so far, Manju said the work on assessing the losses is on and the situation is getting back to normalcy to a great extent.
He, however, noted that as the oil-slick has already been lapped over the pencil roots of the mangrove plants, it can cause death to those plants by blocking the respiratory system.
In case of death of the plants, the minister said, new trees will grow there after some time.
Manju assured that the government will take necessary steps with assistance from various international organisations keeping in mind the tentative long-term impacts.
Asked whether his ministry will take steps to ban the plying of commercial vessels on water routes through the Sundarbans, he said it cannot take any decision in this regard alone.
Earlier, the minister inspected about a five-km affected area on a speedboat. – UNB

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