08/07/2017, 08.40
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Palm oil invades 11 beaches in Hong Kong due to an accident in China two days earlier

The collision between two ships in the Pearl River (Guangdong) led to the oil spill. Hong Kong authorities were warned two days later. Expert says that two days could be too late for marine life.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews/Agencies) – At least 11 of Hong Kong’s best beaches – as well the centrally located Victoria Harbour – have been invaded by a whitish, gelatinous substance, which turns out to be palm oil.

According to the authorities, the palm oil spill is due to a collision between two ships in the Pearl River (Guangdong), in the mainland.

Residents in Lamma and Lantau Islands as well as users of some of the most exclusive beaches of Hong Kong Island – Repulse Bay, Middle Bay, South Bay – saw the beaches covered with the whitish substance. The beaches were closed yesterday.

Among environmentalists, controversy is growing over why Hong Kong was not informed right away. The collision and the spill occurred on 3 August, but the authorities in Hong Kong were notified only on August 5.

“For some marine life, two days could be too late, said Dr Tsang Po-keung, an associate professor of science and environmental studies at the Education University of Hong Kong.

According to Tsang, Hong Kong and Guangdong should work together on such disasters and work out a mechanism to inform each other so as to contain spills of polluting substances.

“This time they may think it’s fine because it’s just palm oil, but what if next time it is gasoline?” he said.

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