Colombo: Sri Lanka’s Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) informed that acid rains would possibly hit the island nation as a result of the burning X-Press Pearl container ship in the waters off the Colombo Harbour, local media reported.
Chairperson of the MEPA Dharshani Lahandapura told local News First media outlet on Friday that nitrogen oxide gas emitted into the atmosphere will mix with water particles in the upper atmosphere to produce nitric acid for the acid rain, reports Xinhua news agency.
The MEPA head asserted that such air currents could move from the coastal areas into the country, and there is a possibility of acid rains in the surrounding areas.
Lahandapura urged people to be vigilant to avoid exposures to rain directly and cover metal structures or vehicles outdoors. The Sri Lankan Navy on Friday said it was continuing the efforts to put out the flames on-board the Singapore-flagged ship which caught fire in waters off the Colombo port on May 20 and was threatening to cause an environmental disaster.
The Navy added that the ship is in danger of sinking and efforts are underway to prevent it. There has been no sign of an oil spill.
The MEPA has warned of a major environmental disaster and is conducting investigations to assess the impact of the burning vessel. The X-Press Pearl was carrying 1,486 containers with 25 tonnes of nitric acid with several other chemicals and cosmetics from the port of Hazira, India, on May 15.
The vessel sent out a distress call while being close to the Colombo Port on May 20, and soon caught fire. The Sri Lanka Navy said it had rescued 25 crew members from the cargo ship.
Two injured Indian nationals among the rescued had been hospitalised for treatment, and one of them had tested positive for Covid-19, according to the health officials. The distressed container ship had crew members who are Philippine, Chinese, Indian and Russian nationals.