Written by Aryan Pratap Singh, a grade 8 student.
On the 27th of May, an oil well owned by Oil India Limited (OIL) located in the village of Baghjan in Assam burst, causing massive damage to the nearby ecosystem. It recently caught fire, thus forcing people to give up their livelihoods and their homes. Let us learn what caused this terrifying environmental disaster, how it could have been prevented, and how it is affecting the local environment.
OIL has said that the leak occurred due to failing pressure systems. This basically allowed the oil pressure inside the well to go unchecked, which led to the bursting of the well. This catastrophe could probably be prevented if the pressure systems were checked regularly.
While OIL is working to resume operations in and around the oil field by containing the leak, the company has sought an assessment from the Assam Agricultural University to determine the long-term environmental impact on crops. This is due to the fact that before the fire, OIL had bombarded the leak with water to prevent an explosion. This eventually caused the mist rising out of the spewing gas to condense, which led to toxic flooding of nearby homes and fields, causing damage to crops and destroying the soil.
Aside from pollution concerns from the area, environmentalists are also concerned about the long-term effects of the oil spill and gas leak. For the longest time, scientists believed that oil spills did the worst of their damage in the first few weeks, and the damage disappeared along with the oil as soon as the spill was cleaned up. Now, however, we know the oil can linger in the environment, hidden out of sight for up to a century, leading to hydrocarbon poisoning of wildlife through the soil.
As fear spreads that more leaks may take place at other OIL owned tanks and wells which use the same pressure systems, local environmentalists are asking: why did OIL get permission to set up rigs so close to biodiversity hotspots and residences in the first place.
Written by Aryan Pratap Singh.
Aryan is a grade 8 student in Modern School, New Delhi. He is a keen writer and his current interests are World War II, warships and fighter planes, world leaders, mobile video games, Greek and Egyptian mythology.
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