Mas­sive Oil Leak in South­east Sick­ens Res­i­dents

NewsChina - - NEWS BRIEF -

Fifty-two peo­ple in the port city of Quanzhou, Fu­jian Prov­ince, sought med­i­cal at­ten­tion with 11 ad­mit­ted to hos­pi­tal af­ter nearly seven tons of car­bon-9, a pol­lut­ing and po­ten­tially harm­ful fuel oil, leaked from a trans­port ship there on Novem­ber 4.

The in­ci­dent was hid­den from the pub­lic un­til nearby res­i­dents be­gan to smell some­thing odd and re­ported it. An in­ves­ti­ga­tion lo­cated the source of the leak at a pipe con­nect­ing the port with a trans­port ship of a lo­cal petro­chem­i­cal com­pany.

The lo­cal gov­ern­ment sent more than 100 ships and 600 per­son­nel to clean the oil, which has pol­luted a vast ex­panse of coastal wa­ters. Lo­cal fish­er­men told the me­dia they were forced to dis­card the fish they had caught in the wa­ters, which could amount to losses of sev­eral mil­lion yuan.

The lo­cal gov­ern­ment fi­nally is­sued a pub­lic state­ment on the in­ci­dent on Novem­ber 9, say­ing the cleanup was on­go­ing and they would con­tinue to mon­i­tor the wa­ter and air. Ex­perts in­vited told the pub­lic that the leaked car­bon-9 was harm­ful to the skin, eyes and res­pi­ra­tory tract, but that these harms are not se­ri­ous if the ex­po­sure is short.

On Novem­ber 14 they is­sued a fol­lowup state­ment say­ing they were close to com­plet­ing the cleanup which cov­ered 6,615 fish rafts, and that the lat­est test showed the mon­i­tored wa­ters were now safe for fish­ing. The state­ment re­vealed seven peo­ple work­ing with the petro­chem­i­cal com­pany had been charged over the in­ci­dent.

The pub­lic has been skep­ti­cal of these state­ments, ap­peal­ing for of­fi­cials to re­lease more de­tails on the ac­tual cause of the in­ci­dent. Some al­leged the lo­cal gov­ern­ment had ini­tially at­tempted a cover up and said of­fi­cials should bear re­spon­si­bil­ity for the poor man­age­ment of chem­i­cal plants. The area af­fected was said to have an el­e­vated rate of cancer. Few be­lieve the wa­ters are now safe and are wor­ried about the im­pact of pol­luted fish on the sup­ply chain.

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