According to the authorities, the ship contained 28 polyethylene pellet containers used in the packaging industry, of which 8 were overboard.
An environmental official warned that a large amount of plastic produced by a burning container ship near the capital of Sri Lanka threatens the island’s beaches, the worst pollution in its history.
The authorities have banned fishing within 80 kilometers of the “MV X-Press Pearl” ship, a container ship flying the Singapore flag that burned for 9 days near Colombo, which may cause an environmental disaster in the area. Hundreds of tons of fuel entered the Indian Ocean.
An international operation is trying to prevent the leak, but the beach has been threatened by another source of pollution, and millions of plastic pellets have escaped from the cargo on the ship.
According to the authorities, the ship carried 28 containers of these polyethylene pellets for the packaging industry, 8 of which fell into the sea.
Cleaning up the beaches contaminated by these tons of small plastic balls, mixed with fuel and other shipwrecks carried at sea, is a complicated task for the Sri Lankan Navy, which has been working in this direction for several days, requiring a large number of personnel and countermeasures. Shovel loader, according to Agence France-Presse.
“This situation is like the new coronavirus. We haven’t seen its end. On Friday, we removed all the plastic from the beach, but as the night’s waves deposit, there is more. Will restart” Manjula Dulanjala, a sailor in charge of cleaning, said that he was handling a layer of plastic and gravel, reaching a height of 0.60 meters in some places.
“This may be the largest beach pollution in our history,” said Dharshani Lahandapura, Chairman of the Marine Environmental Protection Agency (MEPA).
Experts also worry that microplastics will pollute the entire environment.
Scientists are assessing the impact on mangroves (coastal ecosystems in subtropical wetlands), lagoons and local marine life.
Dharshani Lahandapura said the fire weakened the structure of the 186-meter-long vessel, which could cause oil to burst and spill.
In addition to the fuel for its consumption, the ship also stores 278 tons of fuel and 50 tons of marine diesel.
A fishermen’s area 40 kilometers north of the capital Negombo is threatened by a possible oil spill on the country’s tourist resort beaches, which are now open to the public.
The spokesperson of the Sri Lanka Navy, Captain Indika de Silva, told AFP today: “There is still smoke, we can see some intermittent flames, but the ship is now stable.”