Tar balls swarm Hulhumale’ beach, EPA instructs removal

Tar balls swarm Hulhumale' beach.

Environment Protection Agency (EPA), noting the wash-up of the large number of tar balls on Hulhumale’ beach has been brought to their attention, said they have instructed its removal from the beach.

Members of the general public shared photos and videos of tar balls washed on Hulhumale’ beach on social media, many expressing concern over possible damage if they were to be swept back into the sea.

EPA’s Director General Ibrahim Naeem, noting the matter had been brought to their attention, said the agency has now instructed Urbanco to remove the tar balls from the beach.

“We have also received those photos. Therewith, we have instructed Urbanco to remove them,” he said.

Tar balls swarm Hulhumale' beach.

Naeem said it will not result in an oil spill if the tar balls are swept back into the sea, as they are weathered fragments or lumps of oil from earlier spills.

He noted that tar balls washing up on beaches are observed from time to time.

Although not dangerous in itself, direct contact with tar balls for individuals with sensitive skin may cause irritation, rashes and redness. Rinsing the area with soap and water is advised following direct contact.

Naeem noted that some research has been conducted previously exploring the rates of tar ball wash-up in the Maldives. Foreign countries also experience tar ball wash up.