Environmental cost of Assam oil field blaze may never be recovered

On June 5, the World Environment Day, a group of environment activists, local residents and students staged protest demanding compensation for the damage caused by the blowout in the well(s) managed by the Oil India Ltd (OIL).

Oil has spilled over to Dibru river -- which is believed to have given the name to Dibrugarh district of Assam. Reports say a film of oil has been seen in the river that passes through the Maguri wetlands and runs along the Dibru Saikhowa National Park (DSNP).

The wetland is host to some of the most vulnerable species of birds such as Swamp Francolin, Marsh Babbler, Greater Adjutant and Pallas's Fish-eagle, Red-headed Vulture and White-bellied Heron.

BirdLife International recognised this wetland as Important Bird and Biodiversity Area in 1996. Environmental activists say the wetland has been destroyed by the blowout.

River Dibru is a tributary of River Lohit, which becomes Brahmaputra in the lower reaches. Brahmaputra river system is home to Gangetic dolphins. Recently, image of a carcass of a Gangetic dolphin was widely shared on social media with people claiming that the endangered mammal died due to oil spilling during the blowout.

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