Star actor cum aspiring politician Vijay's fan club - Vijay Makkal Iyakkham, has been doing its bit in cyclone Michaung relief operations in Chennai and surrounding. Recently a video of a VMI member highlighting the plight of North Chennai's Ernavoor residents went viral, after it was revealed that not only was the area inundated with neck deep water for 4 days since the cyclone, but an oil spill had caused the livelihood of residents there to go from difficult to toxic.
According to a lady resident of Ernavoor, she was looking for a rescue volunteer to help reach her pregnant sister-in-law, who was suffering without drinking water and other resources, along with an ailing 3-year old. Since state rescue troops were very limited, she had called a Vijay Makkal Iyakkam member as a last resort. Not knowing about the oil spill, 2 VMI members waded through neck deep water to help the pregnant resident with food and water. However to their shock, they were welcomed with the oil spill, the source of which remains unknown.
TNPCB "expert" report finds only "traces" of oil in river. Does this look like traces to you? pic.twitter.com/r8hTH6UlFQ— NityanandJayaraman (@NityJayaraman) December 7, 2023
Seeing how toxic this can be health-wise for a gestating baby and the pregnant mother, the 2 VMI members then arranged for a boat service for the resident to be rescued from there. The waterlogging had reduced drastically on day 5 i.e. December 7, 2023 [Thursday] but deep traces of oil marks could be seen in the houses that were submerged in this area. Residents also complained of breathing problems, and a strong stench and said that they were unaware of the oil spill or its source till the VMI members waded the toxic water.
Following the viral video and press coverage by Tamil and English news channels, The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) inspected the oil spill and the Ennore creek (Ernavur lies between Ennore and Manali), which is a fishermen's locality in Chennai. TNPCB's report (read below) however has caused a stir on social media especially with North Chennai residents.
Several residents living near Tamil Nadu's Kosasthalaiyar river, are suffering from health issues including respiratory problems, skin rashes and headaches due to toxic fumes following the spread of an oil spill into the river from a canal.#ReporterDiary (@anaghakesav) pic.twitter.com/F7NWcghk5X— IndiaToday (@IndiaToday) December 7, 2023