Published: Friday 15 December 2000

imageA recent massive oil and fertiliser spill off Sri Lanka's southern coast has triggered a grave ecological and humanitarian crisis. "The pollutants have spread over an area of eight square kilometres along the coastline. This has threatened the marine life. Every day fisherfolk remove several tonnes of dead fish from the surface. "In some areas, the pollutants have spread to the beach because of high tide," says Dhanapala Weerasekara, chairman of the Federal Marine Pollution Prevention Authority. Chemicals used to contain the spill have reacted with the oil and NPK (nitrogen, potassium and phosphate) fertiliser, forming a soapy toxic solution, which experts say have killed more fish than the original pollutants.

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