350,000 Liter Oil Spill at World Heritage Site
Located on the border between Bengal and India and covering 10,000 square kilometers, The Sunderbans is the largest tidal halophytic mangrove forest in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
On December 9, an oil tanker crashed into another ship and spilled 350,000 liters of fuel oil over 350 square kilometers of The Sunderbans.
Until this point the majority of cleanup efforts were conducted by locals, though the UN has begun arranging a more organized response. Though the area affected is relatively small, oil takes decades to be cleared from marsh sediments to the often to the detriment to many of the native species. In this case there is concern for the endangered river dolphin and the overall impact on fisheries and water-based plants that are crucial to the lives of millions of locals.
The BBC published a collection of photos of the spill that can be viewed here.
Source: Scientific American