“The worst environmental disaster”: the ship that burns in Sri Lanka is polluting the coast

Since May 20, the X-Press Pearl it burst into flames and was burning until Sunday, May 30. The fire at the stern of the 186-meter vessel destroyed much of its 1,486-container cargo, however some of these fell into the Indian Ocean.

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Debris, including several tons of plastic, washed ashore and caused severe pollution on beaches.since the ship was transporting 28 containers full of polyethylene granules, of which eight fell into the water.

Sri Lankan environmentalists have called it one of the worst ecological disasters in the country’s history and have warned of a possible threat to marine life and the fishing industry.

If the vessel were to sink 350 metric tons of oil could leak into the ocean with the potential to cause widespread ecological damage to marine life and affect 30 kilometers of coastline between the capital and Negombo, Sri Lanka’s Fisheries Minister said last week. Lanka, Kanchana Wijesekera.

On Monday, the Sri Lanka Ports Authority said the ship’s hull was still structurally intact and “no oil or chemical spills had been observed so far.”

X-Press Feeders reported on Monday that “there were no visible flames aboard the vessel, although smoke continues to rise from areas at the stern of the ship,” according to the company’s Incident Information Center.

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All 25 crew members have been evacuated and most are in quarantine at local hotels. Two crew members suffered leg injuries following an explosion on board on May 25 and were taken to hospital. One of them later tested positive for Covid-19 and was transferred to a special facility at a military hospital, according to X-Press Feeders.

danger to the environment

The Sri Lanka Marine Environment and Protection Authority (MEPA) declared in the local media that plastic waste had caused “the worst environmental disaster we have ever seen”. Also MEPA He added that the damage caused by the ship is still being calculated.

muditha Katuwawalacoordinator of the Sri Lankan environmental group Pearl protectorssaid the ocean around the ship would become quite toxic and expressed concern about the possible impact on marine life, including several local species of turtles and fish.

One of the biggest concerns was the millions of plastic balls that are polluting the waters and that have appeared on the beaches of the coast, raising fears that fish and other wildlife could swallow them. microparticles.

Katuwawala commented that another reason for concern is the rains monsoon and the wind that carries the granules along the coast.

“Yesterday, and even today, we see how the movement of plastic pellets is polluting the entire western coast of Sri Lanka and along the southern coast. This is going to have a serious social and environmental impact,” she stated.

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Source: cnn.com