Mangaluru, Oct 17, 2016 : The Indian Coast Guard, Karnataka, conducted a Level I Pollution Response Workshop at its headquarters here on Tuesday involving various stakeholders.
As per the Coast Guard Act 1978, the agency is responsible for the protection of marine environment and control of marine pollution. It has been nominated as the Central Coordinating Authority for oil-spill response in the Maritime Zones of India while Coast Guards officers are authorised under the Merchant Shipping Act 1958, to take action against polluters, a release here said.
The release said that the workshop was attended by about 30 personnel from different marine stakeholders, including Navy, State Pollution Control Board, NMPT, MRPL, HPCL, Fisheries Department, IMC, Port Official, NPCIL Kaiga, CMFRI, ISPRL and Indian Oil apart from ICG officials.
In the opening address, Karnataka Coast Guard Commander K.R. Suresh said that environment security is one of the most important elements of national security.
Environmental damage due to war and military preparations, and using environment as a weapon of war are not strange issues. “The intentional discharge of oil into the Persian Gulf during the Gulf War is one of the examples. Such incidents indicate that one cannot discount intentional spills in the marine environment,” the release said.
It could come up as an act of war or militancy, or just for economic reasons. The Commander emphasised that 70 per cent of cargo coming into Karnataka is petroleum products and “this forum with all stakeholders present should carry out self-assessment”.
During the forenoon session of the workshop, various stakeholders made presentations and deliberated the importance of identifying the responsibility of each stakeholder and also timely response during any real time scenario. In the afternoon, a practical demonstration of pollution response was carried out at NMPT.
The workshop concluded that any oil-spill response requires inter-agency coordination and necessary preparedness measures need to be addressed collectively. Also that environment security is a crucial element of national threat matrix with other elements being military security, economic security, resource security, and energy security.