Date
19 August 2017
St. Stephen's Beach in Stanley was closed on Monday morning after lumps of congealed palm oil washed ashore. Photo: HKEJ/Southern District Council member Chan Lee Pui-ying
St. Stephen's Beach in Stanley was closed on Monday morning after lumps of congealed palm oil washed ashore. Photo: HKEJ/Southern District Council member Chan Lee Pui-ying

Red tide fears grow as palm oil spill clean-up continues

Fears are growing that leaked palm oil from a sunken ship in Chinese waters could lead to an environmental disaster.

Fishermen are concerned that the large amount of leakage will produce red tide and kill thousands of fish.

Lamma Island, one of the hardest hit by the spill, has seen a surge of dead fish on its beaches, Apple Daily reports.

This comes as more than 50 metric tons of congealed palm oil have been recovered from the sea and from beaches from Saturday to Monday noon.

As multiple vessels were sent out to sea to pick up floating debris, the Government Flying Service dispatched helicopters to help identify polluted sites so as to expedite clean-up efforts.

None of Hong Kong’s five marine parks has been affected by the spill, according to the Agriculture Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD).

The AFCD said it will continue to monitor its impact on the fishing industry. Some fishermen are worried that there will be more dead fish in Hong Kong waters.

Lawmaker Steven Ho said aerators are ready in case of red tide, which encourages the growth of algae and reduces the oxygen content of the sea.

Meanwhile, St. Stephen’s Beach in Stanley was closed on Monday by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, joining 10 other beaches that have been declared off-limits since Sunday.

All of them will remain closed until further notice.

The Environmental Protection Department will announce on Tuesday evening the results of lab tests on some samples from the leak.   

– Contact us at [email protected]

TL/JC/RA

EJI Weekly Newsletter

Please click here to unsubscribe