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Asia-Pacific

Dalian oil spill clean-up inadequate, says Greenpeace

media Clean-up workers near the Dalian spill Greenpeace

Environmental campaign group Greenpeace has accused the companies responsible for the oil spill in Dalian, China, of shirking their responsibilities and taking inadequate action to repair the damage done. And, it says, the authorities are not protecting local people from the effects.

About 1,500 tonnes of oil were spilled into the Yellow Sea off Liaoning province 10 days ago, after pipelines exploded in a facility run by the China National Petroleum Corporation.

Greenpeace itself took action and placed warning signals along the beaches polluted by the spill.

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Eyewitness - Han Xu, Greenpeace, Dalian 25/07/2010 - by Jan van der Made Listen

But, it says, the authorities have failed to take the necessary action.

“The government said one week ago that the clean-up would take about 10 days but the problem is that there’s just no real clean-up of any oil spill,” Greenpeace’s Han Xu told RFI from Dalian.

“We are also really concerned about health issues regarding the clean-up because we have seen hardly any protection or safety measures for those workers or local fishermen [involved in the operation],” he says.

Workers were using their bare hands and wearing no masks and gloves, leaving them exposed to hazardous chemicals, Greenpeace says.

Weather conditions mean that the oil spill has now affected a much larger area than previously believed, Han says.

“We visited two popular beaches in the area yesterday [Saturday] and we saw oil floating on the surface of the sea. We also went to a small island about 25 kilometres away from the site of the explosion and we also saw oil stains and layers of oil floating on the sea surface … So I would say that this is actually spreading really fast and the clean-up operation really has to catch up with this.”

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