After Baghjan blowout, no redressal – india news

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Oil India Limited (OIL) is in the process of abandoning a gas mannered that blew out and caught fire in the Baghjan Oilfield in Assam’s Tinsukia district after “killing” the mannered and dousing the blaze that raged for just about six months, but little has been done to address the environmental have an effect on of the catastrophe that has ravaged one of India’s finest wetlands .

Gas mannered number 5, which blew out on May 27, spewed copious amounts of condensed oil and gas into the Maguri Motapung wetland and surrounding river tributaries of Dibru and Lohit. Abandoning the mannered involves plugging the mannered for good and stopping production from it. The blowout used to be plugged and fire doused on November 15.

Evidence has emerged from a multidisciplinary committee, appointed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), and headed by Prof Bhagawat Pran Duarah of the branch of geological sciences at Gauhati University, that fish and mollusc diversity has declined alarmingly in the Maguri Motapung wetland. The fish have been found to have high levels of polycyclic fragrant hydrocarbons (PAHs), a poisonous group of chemicals.

Fishermen have had to stop fishing for three months, and surrounding villages have been soaked by water laced with oil and chemicals, which are likely to leave an have an effect on on the ecologically delicate region in the longer term. The wetland could also be home to several species of birds, including some found only here, and the infrequent Gangetic dolphin.

Other species have been impacted as mannered. A deceased hoolock gibbon baby, believed to be a case of stillbirth, used to be found on September 28 in Purani Motapung village close the wetland. Investigators found that the mother used to be compelled to feed on contaminated leaves and plants except for being directly exposed to xenobiotic pollutants (synthetic chemicals). The mother also died on October 27, but test results on her viscera are still awaited.

After the Baghjan blow-up, investigators also found that four of nine calves born to domestic cows in neighbouring villages perished; of the four, two were still-born.

Investigators also found that important fish species such as Ompok pabo, Nundus nundus, Ailia coilia, Pseudeutopius atherinodes, Channa aurantimaculata and Danio rerio have been totally wiped out from the Maguri-Motapung wetland.

The findings propose a long-term have an effect on of the oil mannered blowout. The Wildlife Institute of India warned in a July outline to the Union surroundings ministry: “The have an effect on is remarkable and will have long-term effects, as many of these pollutants will leach into the ground and infect groundwater. Long-term restorative efforts are needed for cleaning up these pollutants.”

Investigators have underlined that the monitoring of migratory birds will be the most important for gathering more evidence on the environmental have an effect on of the oil mannered catastrophe. Their numbers, behaviour and foraging habits could sign what lies ahead.

Locals said migratory bird diversity and arrivals have definitely been affected. “By November, this area is stuffed with migratory birds. This time not even half of them have arrived. The diversity could also be less,” said Imon Abedin, a zoology student.

His father Jonyal Abedin, who runs an eco-tourism facility, said: “We saw only one or two (Gangetic) dolphins till now. We need to study how migratory birds have been impacted by the blowout. The have an effect on will be long-term but can gradually be offset whether there’s no more disturbance.”

A seismological and geophysical investigation by the Geosciences and Technology Division of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research’s North East Institute of Science and Technology also found that the blowout site used to be the source of the high frequency disturbances observed at seismic stations nearby. Some could also be very disturbing to native people, the outline added.

NGT’s intermediate outline, dated October 31, pointed to several illegalities surrounding OIL’s Baghjan gas mannered and called on the Assam Pollution Keep watch over Board to take valid action against OIL and its officials for violations of the mandatory requirements under the Air and Water Acts. OIL has also been unable to carry out the Biodiversity Affect Assessment Study through the Assam State Biodiversity Board, as mandated by the Supreme Court.

OIL violated provisions of the Surroundings (Protection) Act, 1986 and the Surroundings Affect Assessment (EIA) Notification, 1994 under which it is mandatory to obtain environmental clearances for any onshore drilling projects that commenced before 2006, the multidisciplinary committee said in its outline.

“We have started executing the mannered abandonment policy because of this we can never again produce gas from the mannered. Quite a lot of safety and technical issues want to be addressed before the abandonment is total and till then the location will be a endanger zone. Cement plugs must be installed at more than a few locations and depths,” said OIL spokesperson Tridiv Hazarika, claiming that the company has cleaned up the oil condensate in the area.

“Nature also helped us. The heavy monsoon rains helped wash absent probably the most oil. We are also undertaking bio-remediation (use of microorganisms to keep an eye on pollution) in water bodies. Approximately ₹37 crore worth of compensation to native people has also been disbursed through the DC’s (deputy commissioner’s) office. An evaluation by the DC’s office and NGT’s last judgement is awaited,” he added.

“Environmental disasters will continue to be normalised and not accounted for whether we don’t pin lucid liability, allow projects to only safeguard their profits and offer small change in the name of compensation,” said Kanchi Kohli, valid researcher, Centre for Policy Research.

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