Monday, 7 August 2017

White Slick HK Beaches

Clumps of congealed palm oil washed up on Hong Kong beaches
There are questions why it took two days for the mainland Chinese authorities to inform Hong Kong about a ship collision that resulted in the leaking of palm oil onto our city's shores.

Congealed palm oil that looked like solid white clumps, washed up on Hong Kong beaches and all 11 of them had to be closed on Sunday. They included Hung Shing Yeh Beach on Lamma Island to Upper and Lower Cheung Sha Beach, as well as those at Repulse Bay and Chung Hom Kok.

All 11 of Hong Kong's beaches were closed on Sunday
Beach workers tried to contain the palm oil with oil-absorbent felts and strips, while witnesses say the contaminated areas smelled like chemicals, or like the odours in alleyways behind fried snack shops.

Dr Tsang Po-keung, an associate professor of science and environmental studies at the Education University of Hong Kong and a member of the government's Advisory Council on the Environment, says a notification mechanism should be modified to specify how many days authorities should be given to report such incidents.
"This time they may think it's fine because it's just palm oil, but what if next time it is gasoline?" he said, but added for some marine life, two days is too late.

When pressed, the palm oil disintegrates like powder
City University chair professor of biology Paul Lam Kwan-sing says the spill did not amount to an environmental disaster, but was "not a good thing".

"Palm oil is a crystallized liquid... which will slowly be decomposed by micro-organisms. The problem is that it is a real eyesore for beachgoers," he said.

It's troubling that China doesn't seem to think this spill warrants any kind of immediate warning -- so much for its supposed priority on the environment, or do they not care about what happens to Hong Kong? Guess not...

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