Palm oil spill proves windfall for residents

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spiilKarwar (Uttara Kannada dist), August 6, 2013; More than 600 litres of palm oil leaked from an underground pipeline near the Baitakhol port here on Tuesday. It mixed with rainwater and entered the sea.

Residents made a beeline for the spot where the pipeline was leaking and filled whatever container they could lay their hands on with the edible oil. While men brought huge drums for the purpose, women and children were content with filling pots, buckets and plastic bottles with the oil.

Local resident Wilson Fernandes said that this was not a good development as leakage of substances like acids could be dangerous.

“There are four to five transport companies in and around Baitakhol. Molasses, varnishes, bitumen and various types of oils are imported through the port. Huge barrels in the premises of the companies are filled with these substances through pipelines. Such leakages can prove hazardous,” Fernandes said.

B R Ganesh, environment officer of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board, said a notice had been issued to Castle Export Company in the wake of Tuesday’s palm oil leak. He said it had come to his notice that aquatic life had not been affected. The oil-mixed water had been sent to the laboratory for testing, Ganesh said.

The firm has been asked to take steps to remove the oil content from the sea water. The company premises is one km from the port and the pipeline is leaking in front of the government school.

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