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Hong Kong closes busy beaches after palm oil spill clogs coast

Posted: August 7, 2017 at 2:05 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

‘White, oily substance’ arising from ship collision lines the shores amid increasing concerns about pollution and rubbish.

Ten busy Hong Kong beaches were closed on Sunday after palm oil spilled from a ship collision in mainland Chinese waters.

Photographs showed styrofoam-like clumps lining the shores, while the waters at a fishing village popular with tourists were seen covered in oil and rubbish.

Despite the rise of debris on beaches, washed ashore from mainland China and other parts of Hong Kong, residents in areas affected by the spillage said they had never seen anything like the congealed oil lumps.

“It had a sort of bubbly consistency,” a resident of Lamma Island told the South China Morning Post. Others cited a rancid smell later in the afternoon, the paper reported.

The government closed six beaches and hoisted warning flags after “white, oily substances” were spotted on the waters and sands off southern Hong Kong’s outlying islands on Sunday morning, according to a statement.

Four more beaches on the southern coast of the main Hong Kong Island were shut when workers found “white, granular substances” on them, the statement added.

Hong Kong comprises more than 200 islands, many with popular beaches, but there are increasing concerns about pollution and rubbish blighting the city’s shores.

The leakage was caused by the crash between two vessels near the Pearl river estuary in southern China on Thursday, the marine department confirmed.

While oil spills from ships are relatively common in Hong Kong, the edible palm oil may have hazardous effects once it has absorbed toxins in the ocean, according to Gary Stokes of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society told the Post.



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