Dangerous disregard for health and safety in handling of the Dalian Oil Spill

Press release - 2010-07-24
Dalian, July 23, 2010 In the fifth day of Greenpeace’s investigations in Dalian, our rapid response team has found a dangerous disregard for health and safety in the oil spill’s clean-up effort, as well as the nearby seafood farms and beaches.

Greenpeace at Dalian oil spill site

At Jinshitan Golden Beach - a premiere tourism destination 37km from the accident site - Greenpeace has observed that the bulk of the clean-up work is done by local fishermen. More critically, the fishermen have not been given safety equipment of any kind. "They don't even have face masks, the most basic and necessary of precautions. They don't even know that they need to protect their skin from crude oil," says Greenpeace action team leader Zhong Yu. Over 500 fishing boats are working in the clean-up effort, starting at 4.30am every morning.

Greenpeace was even more surprised to see that the beaches have not been closed to visitors and lack any warning signs. As a result, locals and visitors unaware of the extent of the oil spill were playing in the water with their kids, risking exposure to petroleum.

Jinshitan Golden Beach, Dalian. This child is having oil cleaned from the soles of her feet.

Crude oil contains dangerous chemicals such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which do not dissolve readily in water and persist in the environment. Many PAHs are carcinogenic and can be absorbed via inhalation or direct contact with skin.

"We strongly urge the government to send professional staff and safety equipment to work on the clean-up process," said Zhong Yu. "It is also critical to put up prominent signs on the beaches to warn visitors that they need to avoid oil-contaminated water for health and safety reasons."

Xingang Port, Dalian. The site of the pipeline explosion and fire.

Contact information

Jason Li, Greenpeace Media Officer

+86 1391 105 0690 +86 10 6554 6931 ext. 157

Yin Kuang, Photo Editor

, +86 10 6554 6931 ext. 167