Pristine Sea Bird Habitat Fouled by Oil

Press release - 2010-07-26
In our most recent investigation of the Dalian oil spill following eight days of fieldwork, Greenpeace has observed serious oil contamination in the Sanshan islands, a popular habitat for sea birds. What's more, there has been no sign of any clean-up effort in these islands, considered among Dalian’s most environmentally pristine areas.

Oil-coated rocks on Dashan Island, a popular habitat for many sea birds

Greenpeace campaigner Hans Xu said, "Dashan, the largest island among the Sanshan Islands, is 11 kilometers from the site of the accident in Xingang Port, Dalian. It has never been affected by industrial pollution and is known for its clean waters, rich marine life, and wild sea birds. But now the ocean is a pitch-black mess, and the island's rocky shores are sticky with crude, making it hard for the sea gulls to find a clean resting spot."

The Sanshan Islands have been designated a special ecological protection zone for its clean, unpolluted ocean and is an important site for the conservation of rare and endangered marine life.

"Starting from July 20th, oil has been washing up here, but no one knows who will be responsible for cleaning it up," Mr. Wang, a seafood farmer, told Greenpeace. "We don't know what impact this will have."

The Dalian Daily, a local newspaper, declared today, "Decisive Victory in Dalian's Ocean Clean-up" and "Blue waters reappear in 50km of previously polluted ocean. Water quality reaches state standard II."

"Though Greenpeace has found that the more obvious areas of oil contamination have been cleaned up, there is still a thin layer of oil floating on the ocean surface," said Xu. "Crude oil contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and other chemicals that do not readily dissolve in water - they will remain in the environment and continue to present a threat to human health. These toxins can be absorbed by the body through direct skin contact or respiration, and many of them are known carcinogens. We strongly urge the Dalian government to expand their clean-up efforts from the city area to the wildlife habitat of the Sanshan Islands."

Other contacts:

Jason Li, Greenpeace Media Officer
+86 1391 105 0690, li.jiange [at] greenpeace [dot] org