Locals collect spilled oil with tubs, experts for using soaking fibre

Locals collect spilled oil with tubs, experts for using soaking fibre

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Five days after oil tanker ‘OT Southern Star 7’ capsized in the Shela River, the authorities on Saturday started removing the spilled oil from 30 cannels of the Sundarbans engaging 200 workers.
Amir Hossain, divisional forest officer (DFO) of Sundarbans East Zone, told UNB that as they did not get any clearance from the higher authorities about cleaning up the spilled oil using chemical dispersant, they have started to remove the oil manually from this (Saturday) morning to save the world’s largest mangrove forest and its natural resources.About 200 workers along with 100 boats were engaged in removing the oil from 30 cannels of the Sundarbans manually, he said.
According to Forest Department officials, the oil slick has already spread over some 80-100 square kilometre areas through the rivers and canals meandering across the mangrove forest and due to tidal waves, the slick has invaded a significant portion of the shores.
Sights of birds and other wildlife are also becoming scantier in the area.
On Friday, local people have managed to collect about 2,000 litres of the spilled oil, according to officials of Padma Oil Company Ltd which has opened an outlet to buy the oil from the local people.
The local administration on Thursday announced through loudspeakers to engage local people in foraging the floating oil from the river water, but the majority of the locals still remain reluctant about it as the oil collection is difficult using the traditional method.
The ‘OT Southern Star 7’,carrying some 3.57 lakh litres of furnace oil, sank in the river at Mrigmari under East Zone of the Sundarbans after being hit by a cargo vessel, ‘Total Cargo, at 5am on Tuesday, causing a serious threat to the existence of the mangrove forest and its natural resources due to the oil spill.
Seven crewmembers of the oil tanker managed to swim ashore while its master, M Mokhlesur Rahman, still remained missing.
Meanwhile, the sunken vessel was salvaged around 11am on Thursday by a private rescue ship with two undamaged tankers having 1.15-1.20 lakh litres of furnace oil, claimed chairman of Mongla Port Authority Commodore Habibur Rahman Bhuiyan.
Bangladesh Navy supervised the salvage operation by the rescue ship hired by the owner of the sunken oil tanker.
Following the tanker capsize, the government on Wednesday banned the plying of all kinds of vessels through the Shela River route of the Sundarbans until further notice.- UNB

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