It is tiny single-celled microbes that are on the rescue act on the oil spill that happened near Chennai that has raised environmental threats.
According to the ministry of petroleum and natural gas, it has directed the research and development (R&D) department of Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOC) to take action in the containment of the oil spill that occurred near Ennore Port at Chennai. The R&D Centre has already deployed a non-hazardous bio-remediation process named "Oilivorous-STM" which was developed by the Centre to deal with such onshore oil spills. Microbes are the oldest form of life on the earth and millions of them can fit into the eye of a needle.
The technology involves use of identified microbes, which when administered to the oil spills with specific nutrients, eat away the oil and sludge, leaving the soil completely oil-free and harmless. In the past, this technology was successfully employed to remediate oil spills that occurred on Mumbai coast in the year 2010 due to collision between two ships. Two expert scientists from Indian Oil’s R&D Centre were sent to coordinate with Ennore Port Trust and Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to effectively deal with the spillage through the bio-remediation process. The requisite quantity of identified microbes and nutrients prepared at the R&D Centre have already been air-lifted and positioned at the treatment site.
The spill happened on January 28, when a ship M T BW Maple' leaving the port after emptying Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) collided with M T Dawn, Kanchipuram, loaded with petroleum oil lubricant (POL), which was on its way to the berth at the Ennore port. The oil spill that happened outside the port resulted in the death of some turtles and other aquatic lives.