A set of photos released by Greenpeace shows firefighters trying fix an underwater pump during clean operations in Dalian, China. In these photos, one of the workers are seen to have been submerged underneath thick oil and has not emerged after nearly one hour. Greenpeace activists were on site to assess environmental impacts of the oil spill when the incident happened.
On July 16, 2010, two pipelines exploded in Dalian, Liaoning
province, spilling oil into the Bohai Gulf. This accident -
occurring just a day after BP finally capped their Macondo well in
the Gulf of Mexico - should be a grave reminder of the continued
and unavoidable dangers of our continued reliance on an oil
The pipelines were transferring oil from a Liberian tanker ship
to storage facilities in Dalian's Xingang Port. One pipe exploded,
triggering a series of explosions in another pipeline and breaking
open a storage tank.
An estimated 11,000 barrels (1,500 tons) of crude leaked into
the ocean, creating an oil slick that has expanded over some 100
square kilometers. A fire raged for 15 hours before it was mostly
Irriversible and long-lasting damage
The oil spill holds serious consequences for the coastal
ecosystem, as well as the fishing and tourism industries and local
communities. Although it is still too early to fully evaluate the
environmental consequences of this accident, one thing is certain:
there is no such thing as a complete clean-up. The damage
done by every oil spill is irreversible and long-lasting.
The clean up process has already begun, with booms, skimmers,
and dispersants, which themselves are hazardous chemicals whose
harmful effects have not yet been fully studied.
Energy reform is the only solution
"From the Gulf of Mexico to the Gulf of Dalian to the numerous
coal mine accidents, it is tragically obvious that economic
development built upon fossil fuels is unsustainable and comes at a
high price," says Yang Ailun, head climate campaigner at Greenpeace
China. "To ultimately avoid the devastating consequences of such
accidents on our environment and safety, we must reform our energy
system by improving energy efficiency and developing renewable
energy sources, while moving away from dirty fossil fuels such as
oil and coal."
Greenpeace is closely monitoring the development of the spill
and the clean-up efforts, and is sending a field team there to
assess the environmental impact of the disaster. Greenpeace calls
for the Chinese government and responsible corporations to carry
out a comprehensive assessment of the environmental impacts and
take strong actions to minimize the negative consequences.
Oil disasters like these show that no matter the technology and
precautions, spills cannot be predicted or prevented. Our reliance
on petroleum ties the world together in poisonous ways, anchoring
economies to environmental tragedies like those in the Niger delta,
the Ecuadorian rainforests, the Gulf of Mexico, and now on the
shores of Dalian.
Today, the energy ministers of over 20 nations, including China,
are meeting in Washington D.C. For the first time they are focusing
their discussions entirely on clean energy - let's hope they come
up with some firm decisions and commitments to a new energy