Offloaded furnace oil destroys marine environment

Thameenah Razeek (RP) | Published: 1:46 PM Jul 23 2021
Local Offloaded furnace oil destroys marine environment

Furnace oil offloaded by ships arriving at Sri Lankan ports has been identified as a major contributor to marine environmental pollution. This damage is mainly caused by the irregular discharge of polluted water from furnace oil into the environment.

The Environment Ministry has formed a committee to investigate the environmental impact caused by the irregular discharge. Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said only oil that has been added from the last port of call to the next port can be disposed of under the international system for removing furnace oil from ships.

 “If a ship discharges furnace oil, the relevant shipowners will be required to pay a fee to that country as a result of the environmental damage caused. However, in Sri Lanka, we pay ship owners and buy oil,” he explained. “Water extracted from furnace oil is immediately discarded in natural water sources such as rivers and streams. One litre of the polluted water contaminates 10,000 litres of pure water, according to the findings. 

Heavy metals in the water, such as arsenic, cyanide, lead, and cadmium, taint the drinking water, resulting in a variety of severe ailments, including kidney failure,” he added. Therefore, Minister Amaraweera appointed a committee to investigate the environmental issues that may occur as a result of the furnace oil offloaded from ships and to submit a report to Cabinet. 

A representative from the Ministry of Environment, Central Environmental Authority, Petroleum Corporation, Marine Environment Protection Authority, and groups involved in the furnace oil business were also selected to the committee. He observed that the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation’s income has been seriously harmed as a result of the corporation’s continued involvement in obtaining furnace oil from ships, which is marketed for use in diesel cars. 

Currently, there are approximately eight companies involved in this process, with an additional two companies that store furnace oil. These corporations’ depots are brimming with furnace oil, and the environmental damage caused by this has soared. The Minister further directed that a report be submitted in this connection expeditiously

Thameenah Razeek (RP) | Published: 1:46 PM Jul 23 2021

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