a massive chemical spill last week in Fujian province which resulted in nearly seven tons of petrochemicals being leaked into the sea and at least 52 local residents becoming ill.even people have been arrested over
The spill occurred early last Sunday morning (Nov. 4th) as a toxic substance called C9 aromatic hydrocarbon was being transferred onto a chemical tanker ship at a petrochemical wharf in the Quangang district of the port city of Quanzhou. During the transferring process, an old tube connecting the vessel to the wharf broke, spilling out 6.9 tons of the stuff into the water.
The product of refining crude oil, C9 is typically used as a solvent in paints and coatings. It is toxic to humans and releases harmful pollutants into the air when exposed to sunlight.
10 days after the spill, local authorities announced yesterday that three employees of the Fujian Donggang Petrochemical Company had been arrested, along with four workers on the chemical tanker, explaining that they were all accused of negligence resulting in the disaster.
Meanwhile, however, district authorities themselves have yet to face any form of punishment for what villagers say was a botched clean-up/cover-up effort in which local fishermen instead of professionals were dispatched to help clean up the mess with absorbent materials and villagers were not properly warned to stay away from the water.
The day after the spill, the district government announced that the water and air in the era were both largely back to normal. However, things certainly didn’t seem normal to residents. The spill occurred near to a village and a number of fish farms. Days afterward, fishermen still reported an awful stench that pervaded over the water in the area, charging that their farms had been contaminated and scores of their fish killed.
Last Thursday, the Quangang government was forced to come clean, announcing that 52 people had become sick following the spill with symptoms like dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and difficulty breathing. Two of them remained in the hospital as of this Wednesday.
While discussion surrounding the spill has been somewhat censored on Chinese social media, in some posts, Weibo users can still be found wondering why no local officials have been detained by police as well. “Nothing about government officials? Cover-ups and false reports are not punished?” wrote one web user.
On Wednesday, the local government also announced that it had completed a clean-up of 4 kilometers of the surrounding coastline and had determined that local fishermen could go back to work as normal and sell their fish on the market. “Has the leadership eaten any yet?” one Weibo user commented in response to the news.