A team of scientists from NIO rushed to the site and collected water and sand/sediment samples. The fauna (polychaetes, molluscs -especially bivalves- and crustaceans) within the sediment samples was analyzed to assess the intensity of the pollution.
Most of these burrowing organisms, also called meio-and macrobenthic populations (photographs (a) Isopod: Eurydice (left), (b) Emerita (right)), form a major source of food for demersal (bottom feeding) fishes. By their continuous burrowing activities they also play very important role in recycling dissolved nutrients in the beach sediment and sediment-water?interface. Since these organisms live close to the sediment surface and sensitive to the physical and chemical changes in the environment, act as pollution indicators. Their survival or otherwise indicates the intensity of oil spill/ concentration of disposed effluent depending on their level of tolerance. As an immediate impact a reduction in total density and change in species composition is noticed. Long-term impact results in retardation of growth, mortality of eggs and may lead to elimination of some of the sensitive species (reduction in benthic diversity).
A detailed study is being carried out by Baban Ingole; X.N.Verlencar; Classy D'Silva.