Karachi

‘Oil slick at Clifton beach poses no threat to marine flora, fauna’

Clifton

KARACHI: Clifton beach was recently in the headlines after an oil slick but it poses no immediate threat to marine flora and fauna as it’s in the advanced stage of dilution, the World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan (WWF-P) said.

A WWF-P team, which visited the site, found some fish inhabiting shallow waters dead in the affected area. It also spotted a damaged carcass of a green turtle that seemed a bit old and the organization said its death couldn’t be attributed to the oil slick.

According to the organization, the spill was initially reported between a popular food outlet and another local restaurant and then spread beyond Devil’s Point. The oil slick, it said, might have occurred owing to oil discharge from a facility, or it may have leaked from a ship passing by the area and then, pushed by monsoon winds and intense waves, made its way to Clifton beach.

“The oil is now stranded in an intertidal area, mainly accumulating at the high tide watermark, leaving black lines or globs of oil on the beach as the tides recede. The slick is in the advance process of dilution and doesn’t seem to pose any immediate threat to the marine fauna and flora.

“However, people visiting the beach should avoid going there until the water becomes completely free from slick,” said technical adviser to the WWF-P Mohammad Moazzam Khan.

He called for tracking the oil slick or spill to prevent its movement towards sensitive marine habitats and biodiversity hotspots.

However, regional head of WWF-P Sindh and Balochistan Dr. Babar Khan said there was no immediate threat to the turtle beach as the wind and wave circulation pattern from west to east was presently under the influence of a southwesterly monsoon.

“Yet there is a need to monitor the affected and adjoining areas. The case of the present oil slick as well as the one reported at Sandspit in May this year require vigilance by the authorities concerned and call for mitigating measures.

“The fingerprint method should also be used to trace the source of these oil slicks so that necessary measures are taken in time to avoid future disasters. Containment and removal of oil spills is also required,” he said.

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