“We discovered fishermen neck-deep in oil”

26 July 2010

On Friday the 16th of July, two pipelines and an oil tank exploded in Dalian  Liaoning province in China, spilling oil into the Bohai Gulf.

An estimated 11,000 barrels of crude leaked into the ocean, creating an oil slick that has expanded about 100 square kilometers. A fire raged for 15 hours before it was mostly extinguished. A firefighter involved in clean-up efforts drowned on Tuesday after he entered the oil-slathered waters to try to clean a pump sucking up spilt oil.

Greenpeace activist, Zhong Yu, gives an eyewitness account from the oil spill site:

I arrived here at the site of the oil spill last week to discover fishermen neck-deep in the oil trying to clean it up. I was completely shocked.

There was a strong smell of acid and oil in the air, and untrained people were in the sea using their bare hands to clean up the oil. They don’t even have facemasks, the most basic and necessary of precautions, so we had to give them to them.  They don’t even know that they need to protect their skin from crude oil.


Greenpeace activist Zhong-Yu at the site of the oil spill in Dalian, China

We’re doing our best to help, but there’s only so much we can do. The Chinese Government desperately needs to send professional clean-up staff with safety equipment to work on the oil spill.

The worst thing is, pollution from the oil spill cannot be completely cleaned up. Health hazards from the oil spill will be here for generations to come.

I’ll be working with Greenpeace over the next few months closely monitoring the development of the spill and the clean-up efforts.

Greenpeace is campaigning for an Energy Revolution, replacing polluting fuels like oil with safe and clean renewable energy like wind and solar.