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Maharashtra and Goa: Tarballs on India’s west coast: A tale of shifting responsibilities by Astha Joshi October 05,2021   |  Source: Down to Earth

Tarballs hit the news headlines recently when they started appearing on well-known beaches of Mumbai and Goa. These aquatic pollutants, formed from weathering of crude oil floating on the ocean surface, have flooded Anjuna, Morjim, Colva and Mandrem beaches in Goa as well as Juhu, Versova, Dadar and Cuff Parade shorelines in Mumbai. Tarballs are dark-coloured substances dropped off to shores by waves and sea currents. They accumulate in several sizes ranging from small globules to those as big as a basketball. The latter, which weigh 6-7 kilograms, are washing up more often these days. The presence of tarballs can indicate oil spills. In addition to the big spills near Mumbai, the Arabian Sea experiences oil spills routinely as it is also a crowded oil transportation waterway, with western coast corporations like Bombay High, Panna-Mukta oil field, Tapti gas fields and Essar Oil. “All the oil spilled in the Arabian sea eventually gets deposited on the western coast in the form of tarballs during monsoon, when the wind speed and circulation patterns favour their transportation,” according to a study by the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO).

The seasonal occurrence of tarballs on the west coast has made the experts and environmentalists demand an investigation into

 

© Down To Earth 2021.

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