ENOUGH damage has been done to the Sundarban's bio-diversity due to the recent oil spill. It must be recognized that the oil that has been spilled is not like octane or petrol, it's called high speed diesel oil or crude that is much lethal in nature. It's very thick and doesn't liquefy and mix with water. What usually happens is a thick layer keeps floating over the water and prevents the sunlight from entering within the water. So the light is reflected back. As a consequence, the micro-organism deep in the water which are basically the producers like weed, algae, micro-algae, phytoplankton can not produce to maintain the balance of the aquatic environment. There will be a shortage in oxygen supply for the aquatic reproductive system which will bring dire consequences for the dolphins too.
So the repercussion is that the total food chain of the spill out area will be affected and for an indefinite period. Other type of aquatic beings that depends on this micro-organism will not be able to survive. Also winter spooning or breeding of fish species will be severely hampered. So a vast amount of eggs are likely to dry out due to this spillage.
If there is an active power plant in Rampal there will be more container ships carrying coal. In terms of, carrying coal there will damage too. Coal carries a certain degree of moisture which is known as coal influence on water so that too is likely to leak while being transported. And coal is not a single element and mixed with different chemicals like sulphur for instance. Coal is dangerous for water as its elements are extremely corrosive. In many of the brick fields' coal is used as a primary source of fuel and if you go to the coal dumping site you will see that grass and other plants of that area are all dead. Coal leaching water will harm the entire bio-diversity in general.
Frequent movement of such vessels are likely to pollute the water of Sundarbans area. Moreover, these vessels will discharge their own burnt fuel in the water. It's necessary to stop the advancement of intense movements over the water of the Sundarbans.
The commentator is Professor, Environmental Science Discipline, Khulna University.