Mangroves stretching over several kilometres along the coast in the eastern suburb of Mahul have been destroyed due to an oil leak from a pipeline carrying furnace oil from the sea to a refinery in the area. The sprawling black sheet of oil has settled on the mudflats too, affecting the seedlings of mangroves.

Forest officials told The Hindu that the damage was serious and had happened over a period of time. “We did not know the source of the oil leak then, but we issued a preliminary report on October 17 pointing out that oil was continuously leaking in the area,” Sanjay Mali, divisional forest officer told The Hindu after inspecting the location on Thursday.