Global environmental challenges
Dalian oil spill is all cleaned up
The Chinese government this week announced the oil spill is all cleaned up in Dalian harbor, off the north coast of Liaoning province in China.
That was fast.
Not even two weeks ago, on July 17, a blast hit two oil pipelines and spread an estimated 1,500 metric tons of crude oil (462,000 gallons) into the Yellow Sea. (Update: Greenpeace on July 30 said as many as 60,000 metric tons could have been spilled.)
It’s a minute fraction of the amount of crude that has spilled into the Gulf of Mexico since the BP Deepwater explosion of April 20, with an estimated 414,000–1,186,000 tons — but it’s still significant enough for 8,000 workers and 800 fishing vessels to dive in to clean-up efforts, some literally.
At least one person was killed in the cleanup efforts. Firefighter Zhang Liang, 25, drowned July 20 after a wave threw him from a vessel and pushed him out to sea, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.
Photos from the region show workers manually scooping oil from water over the past two weeks, using seaweed as an absorbent, some kind of paper toweling and bare hands with helmets and bowls.
Could it really have worked? On Wednesday, the port received its first very large crude carrier since the spill had shut its 300,000-tonne berth to shut, state media said on Thursday.
Impact on the industry has been minimal. Fishing sites are said to be far from the spill site and also the annual fishing ban is in full swing so seafood prices have remained steady.
While the U.S. continues to battle its own massive oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, are there any lessons to be learned from China?
Photos show from top to bottom:
A laborer cleans up oil at the oil spill site near Dalian port, Liaoning province July 23, 2010. REUTERS/Stringer
A worker (R) attempts to rescue his co-worker (L) from drowning in an oil slick while attempting to fix an underwater pump during oil spill clean-up operations at Dalian’s Port in Liaoning province, July 20, 2010. REUTERS/Jiang He/ Greenpeace
A laborer pours oil that he scooped up from the oil spill witha helmet into an oil drum,n ear Dalian pport, Liaoning province, July 22, 2010. REUTERS/Stringer
A worker scoops oil from the oil spill site near Dalian Port, Liaoning province July 26, 2010. REUTERS/Stringer
Containers filled with oil cleaned up from the oil spill site are seen at a port in Dalian, Liaoning province July 25, 2010. REUTERS/Stringer