Lamma Forums

Massive Palm Oil spill in HK
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Author:  Alan [ Sun Aug 06, 2017 8:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Massive Palm Oil spill in HK

Today on Lamma. Lumps of solid palm oil on all the beaches.
They feel like soft cooking fat. Presumably not dangerous to humans (though I wouldn't ingest any), but they are killing fish and probably other sea life.
But at least it's organic and should degrade naturally, unlike petroleum oils.

Apple Daily story
Google translation:
【18:30】 The Marine Department said that on August 5 (yesterday) afternoon, it was found that there was a white substance in the waters southwest of Hong Kong. On the same day, the relevant departments of the Mainland were informed that there was a collision between the vessel on August 3 in the Pearl River. A white matter for palm stearin (extracted from palm oil). The Marine Department has immediately stepped up patrols and cleared the clean-up operations. The prescription has also informed the relevant departments of the situation, the EPD refers to the palm stear is harmless to the human body.

[13:50] The LCSD has announced that the beach has been temporarily closed due to the discovery of oil on Repulse Bay Beach, Central Bay Beach, South Bay Beach and Chung Hom Kok Beach in Hong Kong Island South. , The public not to swim at the place until further notice.

According to the shipowners, there have been a lot of dead fish, fear of ecological disasters, there are fishermen said, may be south of Lantau Island, Soko Islands, the sea off the sea suspected of the sea, there is a large number of oil in the area, There are cargo ships oil spill, there is news that the cargo ship leaked more than 9000 tons of palm oil, such as white gums of oil-like pollutants, and with the water flow to the southern and outlying islands of the beach and then rushed to the beach, The sea also saw a lot of oil, reported a lot of dead fish.

The LCSD announced this morning that six beaches in the outlying islands, including Hung Shing Yeh Beach, Lo So Shing Beach, Pui O Beach, Upper Cheung Sha Beach, Cheung Sha Beach and Tong Fuk Beach were found to be oily, similar to white oily objects. They appeared on the shore surface and sand surface. At that time, the LCSD had declared that the 6 beaches were temporarily closed and the red flag was hoisted. Members of the public are swimming at the site until further notice. At noon, officers of the Southern District of LCSD are now discovering that the shore and sand surfaces of Repulse Bay Beach, Nakame Beach, South Bay Beach and Chung Hom Kok Beach are also found. Of the same object, then the red flag, so the total number of closed beaches increased to 10.

The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (HD) said that the red flag was hoisted at the above-mentioned affected beaches and displayed and announced at the beach. At the same time, the beach staff has immediately used the suction felts and oil-absorbing strips to prevent the spread of oil and notify the relevant government departments to clean up the oil and monitor the water quality of the affected beaches. The department has also issued a press release informing the public not to swim at the affected beaches. The Department will continue to monitor the situation. When the oil is properly cleared and the relevant government department confirms that the water quality of the beach returns to normal and suitable for swimming, the LCSD will remove the red flag and reopen the beach and inform the public through the press release.

File comment: Lumps of fat at PSB beach
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File comment: Floating lumps of fat off PSB beach
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File comment: Lumps of fat on HSY beach
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Author:  Lamma-Gung [ Mon Aug 07, 2017 6:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Massive Palm Oil spill in HK

Hong Kong beaches closed after palm oil spill (SCMP, Sun Aug 6)

Smelly, congealed clumps from spill in mainland waters mar island beauty spots.

Author:  ebenezer [ Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Palm Grease in Sham Wan Beach

Palm Grease is in Sham Wan Beach.

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Author:  Lamma-Gung [ Mon Aug 07, 2017 7:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Massive Palm Oil spill in HK

Questions over two-day delay on notice of palm oil spill that left 11 Hong Kong beaches closed (SCMP)

Smelly, congealed clumps from spill in mainland waters mar island beauty spots in Hong Kong

Author:  Alan [ Tue Aug 08, 2017 1:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Massive Palm Oil spill in HK

Oil spillage closes another two HK beaches
2017-08-08 HKT 11:10

Another two beaches were closed on Tuesday morning due to an oil spillage, as a clean-up operation continued to remove greasy lumps of palm oil that has been washing up along the city's coasts.

Deep Water Bay Beach and Turtle Cove Beach were the latest to be closed, bringing the total shut since Sunday to 13.

The Leisure and Cultural Services Department warned people not to swim in the waters at either location.

The oil leaked out into mainland waters last week following a collision between two ships.

An environmentalist has warned that the massive palm oil spillage is becoming more difficult to clean up, as solidified oil is breaking up into smaller pieces.

The director of the Eco-Education and Resources Centre, Ken Ching, said that most of the larger pieces had already been removed by the government, and only smaller pieces were left. But he told RTHK’s Janice Wong that he expects the situation to get worse next week.

Ching said that the water current will weaken by then, so a lot of the oil pieces will be trapped in coastal areas of the city.

He urged the government to increase the pace of its clean-up operation, adding that it would be helpful to know how much oil was spilled .

The thirteen beaches closed are on Lamma and the south side of Hong Kong Island.

Click image to see full-size version
Click image to see full-size version

Author:  Lamma-Gung [ Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Massive Palm Oil spill in HK

Best info and background on this major story affecting Lamma I've seen so far:

What you need to know about the oil spill affecting Hong Kong beaches

Plus a look at how the city tackles water pollution in general

Oil spill impact in HK brings call for quicker communication

Green group’s plea follows 200 tonnes of palm oil smothering city’s shorelines

Plus a SCMP.TV video from Hung Shing Ye beach cleanups (link above) and the best photo in SCMP of the Govt. reps assembling on Lamma's Tannery Beach (Nga Kau Wan) yesterday to tell the media that it was not serious and all well handled already...

In the meantime, a lot more oil coming down the Pearl River and almost no preventive beach or follow-up actions taken by Govt., it seems.

File comment: Photo by Xiaomei Chen, South China Morning Post
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Author:  Lamma-Gung [ Thu Aug 10, 2017 3:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Massive Palm Oil spill in HK

Cleanups in progress all over Lamma as all Lamma beaches facing the Pearl River Estuary have been hit:

Plus another Apple Daily story and English video, featuring a certain famous Lammaite who's out cleaning our beaches almost every day now:

Author:  Alan [ Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Massive Palm Oil spill in HK

Report from Sea Shepherd:
From Forest Destruction to Marine Destruction: Hong Kong’s Palm Oil Spill
Friday, Aug 11, 2017

On the night of Thursday 3rd August two ships collided south of Hong Kong in the approach waters to the Pearl River Delta, spilling tons of raw palm oil into the surrounding waters. Sea Shepherd Global's Asia Director Gary Stokes reports from the front line in Hong Kong, where volunteers rush to clean up the white goo accumulating on the beaches while the government stalls.

On the night of Thursday 3rd August two ships collided south of Hong Kong in the approach waters to the Pearl River Delta. According to information obtained from the Tradewinds News, the Japanese GMS chemical tanker ‘Global Apollon’ and the Pacific International Lines (PIL) containership ‘Kota Ganteng’ had a collision but details remain very slim. Details of the damage is also unknown however the ‘Kota Ganteng' containership has since sailed onwards to Singapore. The ‘Global Apollon’ remains at anchor in the waters near the Chinese Guishan Islands just to the South West of Hong Kong’s Soko Islands.
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The ‘Global Apollon’ was carrying 9,000 tons of raw palm oil and a substantial (unknown) amount of this was spilt into the surrounding waters. The Guangzhou authorities dispatched 9 vessels to assist and contain from reports we have seen, yet the Hong Kong Government claim that they were not told of the spill until Saturday 5th Aug 2017. By the time the HK Government found out, large amounts of this palm oil began washing up on Hong Kong’s southern beaches.

Sea Shepherd became aware of the spill on Sunday after concerned citizens started asking what the white goo was and was it hazardous. The HK Government had posted some very small (A4) printed notices at the Gazetted beaches but to this date has not issued any stronger public warnings. In fact the new Under-Secretary for the Environment, Tse Chin-wan has claimed that everything is under control and the spill poses no concern to public health.

Concerned members of the public disagree with this statement after witnessing first hand on their beaches, so they have mobilized to clean what the government should be cleaning. In 2012 there was a huge spill of plastic pellets that covered the beaches of Hong Kong after a ship lost 6 containers in a typhoon. The Hong Kong public are very much aware of the limitations any government has when faced with an accident of such a scale, and are keen to volunteer their help.

On 8th August 2017, Sea Shepherd Global’s Asia Director Gary Stokes wrote an open letter to the Director of the Marine Department and other government departments to offer assistance similar to what was offered in 2012. So far we have only received a “thank you, we’ll get back to you” reply.

During one of the patrols on the ‘Amberjack’ vessel, Sea Shepherd documented fish feeding on the palm oil, almost in a ‘state of frenzy’. It is still unclear as to how the palm oil will affect fish, however we have been seeing an increased amount of dead fish washing up on the beaches.

While the palm oil itself is not hazardous to humans, the issue is the bacteria it collects that grows on it. The palm oil has a melting point of 35°C so in the water remains in a solid form. When it hits the beaches or rocky coastlines it melts. We have found it seeping 4 inches into the sand where it then cools and regains a solid form. This does not bode well at all as it will then take 30 days or so to break down. Much is washed back out to sea, creating an oil slick that reduces oxygen levels in the water in much the same was as ‘red tide’ events.

Similar spills in the UK resulted in the UK Government issuing a public warning to all small children and dogs to avoid the beaches. Here in Hong Kong we witnessed kids playing in amongst the palm oil. Parents said that they have heard it’s “perfectly safe” from the government.

The sad reality is our addiction to palm oil that is wiping out rainforests in Indonesia and Malaysia to supply our addiction to processed snack foods. As a double environmental hit, this palm oil likely cost rainforest species their habitat and now pollutes the marine habitat, threatening the ocean life of Hong Kong.

Clean up operations continue with volunteers from all over Hong Kong hitting the beaches of Lamma Island where the effects were worst felt. At times like this everyday heroes appear from the midst and step up when needed and a special acknowledgement must go out to Robert Lockyer, Keilem Ng and Julia Leung amongst many who have been working every day on the beaches coordinating volunteers. For updates visit Sea Shepherd Hong Kong's FB page.

Watch the Al Jazeera video report with Sea Shepherd Asia Director Gary Stokes "Hong Kong palm oil spill 'an environmental disaster'" below:

Author:  LammaGaau [ Sat Aug 12, 2017 7:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Massive Palm Oil spill in HK

Allen.. any info on what to do with collected palm oil clods.. some folks have gone to their remote coves where they the used to fish.. now have heavy bags hauled into the brush. Just let it rot far enough away from the water? Burn It ? Seeing a lot of smokey foul smelling fires lately.

Author:  Alan [ Sun Aug 13, 2017 12:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Massive Palm Oil spill in HK

LammaGaau wrote:
Allen.. any info on what to do with collected palm oil clods.. some folks have gone to their remote coves where they the used to fish.. now have heavy bags hauled into the brush. Just let it rot far enough away from the water? Burn It ? Seeing a lot of smokey foul smelling fires lately.

Govt is just going to dump it all into landfill. Big piles of fat rotting away for months or years isn't going to be pleasant, and animals that try to eat it could be at risk. Leaving it there is no different to fly tipping.

My personal opinion, if in remote areas, too difficult to bring back to official rubbish collection, pile it onto some rocks and burn it if you can. Might have to add some driftwood to get it going, the hotter the better. It's not plastic, no sulphur or really toxic smoke.

Author:  Lamma-Gung [ Wed Sep 20, 2017 4:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Massive Palm Oil spill in HK

So many beach cleanups by so many volunteer and some official groups, more than I remember in the last 15+ years, but still some palm oil left and new debris polluting our beaches. Sok Kwu Wan, this Sat, contact details below::

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