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Hazardous tarballs surface on beaches of Mumbai & Goa yet again

The BMC has excavated more than 20,000 kg of tarballs from Juhu and Versova beaches in Mumbai in September.


The speedy monsoon winds have washed ashore the hazardous blobs of black oils as tarballs across the Mumbai and Goa coastal periphary. Several beaches in Goa, including those popular among tourists like Anjuna, have formed a black sticky carpet of tarballs raising concerns across. Reportedly, a similar phenomenon has been witnessed across some of the most prominent beaches of Mumbai as well. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has excavated more than 20,000 kg of tarballs from Juhu and Versova beaches in Mumbai this month.


Trouble in Goan paradise

The occurrence of these dangerous balls is a regular monsoon phenomenon, however, its severity and spread this year has caught the attention of many. During the rainy season, many beaches in North Goa including Miramar, Anjuna, Morjim, Mandrem and the like are afflicted with this atrocity. As per reports, the famous Anjuna beach was covered in a sticky black carpet, earlier this month.

As per the locals, the oil globules not only covered the shell-fishes but also stuck to the fishing net. This created a lot of trouble for the fishermen, who had to throw away the fish for they could not be cleaned. It also hampered the beauty of the Goan shoreline, affecting the tourist business at the otherwise popular pristine beaches here.

Mumbai faces the oily terror

On Tuesday, a business district of South Mumbai, Cuffe Parade shoreline witnessed deep black oil-radiating blobs on the shore. Earlier also, renowned beaches like Juhu and Versova were also found covered in foul-smelling fuel balls. As per reports, the BMC removed tonnes of oil pellets from these beaches, in this month alone.

Civic officials claimed that removing tarballs was a challenge for the oil pellets were sticking to the cleaning machines. It was extremely difficult for them to wash it off and clear the beaches.

What are Tarballs & what is their origin?

Tarballs are dark-coloured, sticky oil discharges from cargo ships, that normally form balls when they float aside on the seashores. These fuel bombs are created by the weathering of crude oil in aquatic surroundings. Due to ocean currents and heavy waves, this oil is transported to the shores from the open sea. Some balls are as enormous as a football and weigh around 6-7 kgs, while others have a minute coin-sized form.

Tarballs, when mixed with ocean water, turn into a thick paste that can float over long distances on the water surface, destructing marine life. Hazardous to aquatic life and livelihood, the globules also accumulate various heavy metals like nickel, copper, and cobalt, to their surfaces. Sediments of heavy hydrocarbons, organic compounds further constitutes these, which can also cause cancer in humans.

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