Odor lingers as spill cleanup completed

By Liu Caiyu Source:Global Times Published: 2018/11/11 23:03:39

Fishing ban remains in place after C9 aromatics contaminate aquaculture

The water in Quangang, East China's Fujian Province is contaminated with pollutants after a vessel spilled nearly 7 tons of C9 aromatics over the weekend.Photo: IC

A stinky odor caused by nearly seven tons of a chemical that spilled from a ship connected to a wharf on November 4 in Quangang, East China's Fujian Province still lingered on Sunday, as local authorities said the  cleanup has been completed.

The accident occurred when the tube connecting a vessel and the wharf in Quangang broke, leaking 6.97 tons of C9 aromatics in the water.

Fujian Provincial Department of Environmental Protection released a statement on its website on Saturday saying C9 aromatics can irritate the skin, eyes and lungs and cause headaches and dizziness. It also said that touching the chemical for a short period will only cause minor harm to humans.

Though government statements stressed that the air, water and food are being constantly monitored, many local residents remain worried about the pungent odor and economic losses.

An official from the Quangang government told the Global Times that the pungent odor that has hung over the city was dissipating, but it remained in some locations including the village of Xiaocuo.

Environmental experts who had been invited by authorities to the accident site said that the chemical on the water had been basically cleaned up but residue remained in floats, reefs and along the shore, the statement by Fujian Provincial Department of Environmental Protection reads.

They explained that after being exposed to the sun, the chemical vaporized, creating the odor.

The accident contaminated 0.6 square kilometers of water, caused damage to about 300 mu (0.2 square kilometers) of aquaculture areas belonging to fishers in Xiaocuo village, the Quanzhou government said in a statement on Saturday.

The local government has vowed to take measures to improve the fishing environment, the statement said.

Four staff members of the Fujian Donggang Petrochemical Industry Company are being investigated by the local public security department.

Local authorities are looking into the cause and will hold those responsible for the accident accountable, said a statement by the Quanzhou government on Friday.

According to National Business Daily, Xiaocuo village, one of the worst affected areas, is home to nearly 10,000 residents, and over 80 percent make their living from fishing.

The local government has urged the public not to catch, sell or eat seafood from Xiaocuo village.

Staff from the local fishery department will monitor the area 24 hours to make sure no seafood is caught from local waters.

Affected fishers will get compensation accordingly, local government said.

The Quangang district hospital had received 52 patients who might have been exposed to the chemical as of Thursday.

Nine patients who were hospitalized felt better and one was out of hospital as of Friday, according to the government statement. 


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