The air around the Sundarbans is thick and it smells foul. The black slick flowing down the Shela and Pashur rivers, covering grasses and plants on their banks, gives a feeling that it is not the world’s biggest mangrove forest, rather an industrial city cursed and polluted by civilisation’s waste.
Animals have started to die already. The water hyacinths on the two rivers have turned black. Some Golpata trees have been covered with thick layers of oil.
One local, Abu Jafar, spotted two animals — a monitor lizard and an otter — dead and smeared with oil along the banks of the Shela.
Meanwhile, the authorities pulled the sunken oil tanker ashore around 11:00am yesterday, some 30 hours after the accident. But all the 3.58 lakh litres of furnace oil the tanker was carrying already spilled out into the rivers and the adjacent cannels.
The ship in now in safety, said M Giasuddin, managing director of the owning firm, Harun & Company.
Two of the six containers of oil in the vessel were completely damaged, Giasuddin said. “We are checking to see if the four other containers are all right.”
As of Wednesday evening, the slick spread over a stretch of about 60km — up to Koromjal in the upstream and up to Kachikhali in the downstream. At least 20 canals connected to the Shela river were polluted.
The Daily Star