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OIL SPILL IN MAGURI-MOTAPUNG WETLAND IN ASSAM, NORTHEAST INDIA: A SOCIO-ECOLOGICAL DISASTER
Wetlands are highly susceptible to the deadly impacts of oil spill events due to its minimal water flow, which might take several years to restore. A recent incident of an uncontrolled blowout of an oil-producing well in Baghjan oilfield of the Oil India Limited and subsequent fire outbreak has severely threatened the socio-ecologically important Maguri-Motapung Beel, one of largest floodplain wetlands in Assam, Northeast India. The oil blowout coated the wetland water and its surrounding areas with emulsified oil layers, and together with fire outbreak, the incident has decimated many aquatic flora and fauna causing irreversible environmental damage. In addition, the blowout induced fire has also imposed a catastrophic impact on the riparian people of the wetland displacing them towards relief camps leaving their homes. Government authorities should emphasize implementing appropriate management actions to check the installation and/or operation of such oil-producing wells and other constrictive/industrial activities at least within the 10 km radius of any wetland areas that sustain the livelihoods of thousands of poor people.
Oil blow-out, Ecosensitive area, Floodplain Livelihood impact.
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