Bare hands clean up oil spill in China
August 12, 2010 | One Comment
It was a horrifying replay: Oil pipeline explodes. Millions of gallons of crude oil spill into the water, threatening local beaches, ecosystems, and economies. People are unprepared for the clean-up effort, and the government underestimates the scope of the spill.
This has been the scene over the last month not in the Louisiana Gulf, but in the port city of Dalian, China.
The terrible reality is that while the BP oil spill in the Gulf decimated the region, it’s not the only oil spill out there. On July 16th, upwards of 18 million gallons, or 60,000 tons, of crude oil (according to Greenpeace China) was dumped into the coastal waters of Dalian, a major port in northeast China on the Yellow Sea, resulting from a fiery pipeline explosion. While the leak itself was quickly contained, recovery will take a long time.
Local grassroots environmental group Blue Dalian, a Greengrants grantee, mobilized to participate in clean-up efforts. However, fishermen and other volunteers have no protective equipment or training, and are using ladles, pots, and even chopsticks to remove toxic debris and oil. Exposure to crude oil has been linked to significant health hazards, as we’ve seen in the BP case.
Despite the lack of basic safety equipment, almost four weeks later, a large portion of the oil has now been removed from the water. But the full recovery is far from complete.
Blue Dalian is monitoring oil contamination along Dalian coasts and organizing volunteers to join clean-up activities. They will also continue to support local communities to tackle the long-term impacts of the oil pollution and reduce its impacts on both human health and the environment.
China’s biggest oil spill, while only a fraction of the size of the BP spill, is a wake-up call for this energy-hungry country.
Local groups need support to make sure that clean-up efforts are comprehensive, and that the government takes the appropriate steps to prevent further oil spills, including risk assessment and regulatory development and implementation.
Donate now to support grassroots groups including Blue Dalian to help the people and the ecosystems of Dalian make a full recovery from this disastrous spill. Your funds will go directly to the front lines of clean-up and recovery efforts.