- Environmental forensic analysts are chasing tar balls in sea coasts to trace the source of marine oil spills.
- The issue of oil spills came to focus last month following the leakage of huge quantities of crude oil into the sea off Ennore coast near Chennai.
- Samples collected from the Ennore spill will be fingerprinted at the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), Goa, shortly.
How will this help?
- Tracking the source of oil pollution through fingerprinting is significant as it could identify the polluters and thus fix responsibility.
- It will help in evaluating the spills and devising methods for averting them.
- Crude oil explored from each well has specific characteristics.
- A comparison of the characteristics of oil spills or tar balls with the crude oil will reveal the location from which the oil originated.
- After identifying the characteristics of the oil spill or tar balls, it would be easy to track them back to the source, said a communication from NIO.