The Oil Spill along the Gujarat coast…

In India we have all been consumed with the media coverage around Swine Flu. Yes it is tragic indeed for lives to be lost even though experts claim that it is a minor blip in terms of numbers. However that is not the topic of this post.

Another disaster that will have far reaching consequences and which has largely gone unnoticed is the oil spill that has happened around the coastline in the state of Gujarat. The Gujarat coastline is an often unexplored but beautiful part of the country. Recently a mysterious oil spill has ravaged around 100km of the coastline and the source of the spill has not yet been confirmed by the Government. The official reasons have ranged from a ‘rogue’ ship to a leaking pipeline, etc. But the fact of the matter is that the coastline has been destroyed beyond recognition in several parts. One cannot even fathom the ecological damage that it must have done to marine life and the environmental and economical hammering that the people living around the coast will suffer due to this.

It took a good 10 days of dilly-dallying for the Government to first confirm that it was indeed an oil spill. But the source still remains a mystery. As I write this, it seems that cleaning operations have begun in some areas which were hit the hardest but so much still remains to be done in terms of cleaning the beaches, identifying the culprits and bringing them to book.

I regularly visit Nargol, a sleepy town just north of the Maharashtra border inside Gujarat. The beach at Nargol is beautiful and countless hours have been spent there lapping up nature at its best. I went to the beach at Nargol this time hoping for the worst in terms of the oil spill. They claim that the beach is not among the worst hit in terms of oil spill. However when I reached there, not a soul was present and I could see why. The beach has been ravaged completely and it is impossible to walk without stepping your feet in crude oil (yes you read that right!). Reading it in the papers is one thing but when you actually see the destruction that it has caused, it leaves you wondering how fucked up we are as a human race.

I am sure that in due course of time — the beach will get cleaned up. That is the simple part of the postmortem. The painful effects of this human crime will be the possibly permanent damage to marine life along the coast, the economical hardships that will be thrust upon people whose livelihood was dependent on the sea and the adverse health effects on people living along the coast.

I personally do not care about the punishment because that will be treating the symptom and not the disease. The disease that has spread far and wide and in our very veins is complete disregard for nature and systematic destruction of it for the sake of commerce.

I have no idea how bad the scene is at places which are worst hit, since a coastline of nearly 100km has been affected. But if Nargol is not the worst hit, then I am afraid of even seeing the places where it is even worse. I leave you with disturbing pictures of the beach at Nargol….


5 thoughts on “The Oil Spill along the Gujarat coast…

  1. The pictures are really disturbing. You rightly said, the complete disregard for nature is the real problem in our veins and mind and we need to cure that. It manifests itself in all walks of our daily life. It seems that we (specially in India) are on the path of self guided destruction (of nature and by implication ourselves) and there seems to be no way to stop us right now. Only when nature strikes back do we sit up curse it and wonder what went wrong…

  2. Romin, thank you for taking the trouble to document Nargol’s degradation. It is truly a magical place, healing to the soul and pleasant to the eye. Maybe what is needed is a movement of imaginative urbanites who will adopt Nargol and transform it into a shining example of traditional living coupled with modern amenities. The place is too precious to be allowed to go to waste. I read part II of your post as well. I too have walked through Nargol’s lanes many many times, at all hours of the day and night, and I have been repeatedly struck by the beauty of its buildings, something that shines through despite the criminal neglect of Nargol’s heritage structures. I look forward to reading part III. Please don’t forget to include at least one image of the samadhi in the school next to Sea’N’Sand. Best regards from a die-hard Nargol lover.

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