25 May 2010

Any crude on our shores? (25 May)

I made a quick trip to Tanah Merah this evening to see what the situation is on the shore after the massive oil spill this morning at 6am.
As soon as I arrived, I was hit by the strong smell of petroleum.

I usually only smell this on Pulau Hantu, which lies just a few hundred metres from the petrochemical plants of Pulau Bukom.
But I didn't see any black crude in the water or on the shores at Tanah Merah.
The water and shores seem clear of crude. Though not of litter.
The flotsam in the water also seemed clear of black crude.
There seems to a sheen on the water where it was more calm. But not very obvious.
These calm waters are in the huge canals that feed inland, past the swank golf course.
This shore is full of life. Teeming with Button snails and other tiny snails on the sand flats, with many empty shells washed ashore.
Alas, also lots of litter. This batch of litter is today's edition. As this beach is cleaned every morning by an army of cleaners.
And on the high shores, a tangle of abandoned fishing lines. Oil spills are not the only threat to our shores.
A last look at the waters here, they seem clear. The horizon is thick with ships. I looked with the zoom lens but couldn't see any clusters of ships that might be the clean up effort.
I then head quickly for Changi. There was no heavy petroleum smell here.
And the waters and sandy shores look clear and clean.
A final stop near the end of Changi as the sun set. People are camping, kayaking and enjoying the sea view. There's no petroleum smell and the water and shore are clear of obvious crude.
This stretch of shore is right next to Changi Creek where lots of mangroves still grow.
Oil spills are particularly hard on mangroves. Read more about the impact on mangroves. The oil seals up the breathing roots of the trees so they literally suffocate. These stilt roots of the Bakau trees also serve as breathing roots.
While the Api-api trees have pencil like breathing roots that are easily coated with oil that comes in with the high tides. And the little mangrove seedlings also suffer badly.
Just across, I can see our favourite shores: Chek Jawa on Pulau Ubin.
And Pulau Sekudu which we just visited last week.
Let's hope the oil spill doesn't reach these precious shores!

I'll try to find time to do another check up on these shores tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ria;
    I heard in the radio news about the collision involving a Malaysian ship/tanker. Bad...bad..bad.. i hope things will recover quickly and minimal damage done.

    Thumbs up for you to do an immediate check on your shores and mangroves.



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