China giant offers to help clean HK pellet spill

Aug 09, 2012
Taxis drive past a broken umbrella among tree branches in the aftermath of Typhoon Vicente in Hong Kong on July 24. Chinese oil major Sinopec on Thursday offered to help pay to clean up tonnes of plastic pellets that have fouled Hong Kong beaches since a spill at sea during a typhoon two weeks ago.

Chinese oil major Sinopec on Thursday offered to help pay to clean up tonnes of plastic pellets that have fouled Hong Kong beaches since a spill at sea during a typhoon two weeks ago.

The Hong Kong-listed company said it would set aside HK$10 million ($1.29 million) for the clean-up, after 150 tonnes of the tiny round pellets in six containers were washed off a during Typhoon Vicente.

The pellets, owned by Sinopec and known as "nurdles", are used to make plastic products and are not believed to be toxic.

But environmentalists fear they could absorb or kill marine life that mistakes them for food.

Some of the pellets have been found in the guts of fish farmed in Hong Kong, sparking concerns about the safety of consuming locally-produced seafood.

"All these pellets have passed and are highly stable," Sinopec spokesman Lu Dapeng told reporters, downplaying environmental concerns.

"Sinopec suffered from damage -- we are also a victim," he added, referring to the storm.

He said the company would "pay for the necessary costs and expenses" regardless of whether it could be legally blamed for the spill.

Although Sinopec owned the pellets it has not admitted liability. China Lines reportedly leased the , the Yong Xin Jie 1, which was transporting the pellets when the typhoon struck.

"We have not breached any Hong Kong ," Sinopec Hong Kong General Manager Li Jianguo said.

The company has sent staff to join local volunteers who have been scouring the territory's coastline, picking up the pellets by hand.

Hong Kong chief Leung Chun-ying said the government would take action against any party found responsible for the mess.

"We will go after the responsible company or organisation," he said.

Explore further: Germany restricts fracking but doesn't ban it

Related Stories

Italy recalls 'radioactive' wood pellets: report

Jun 14, 2009

An Italian court has ordered the recall of 10,000 tonnes of wood fuel pellets imported from Lithuania over fears that they could have dangerous levels of radioactivity, newspapers reported on Sunday.

Hong Kong moves to restrict mainland babies

Apr 07, 2011

Hong Kong says it will restrict the number of mainland Chinese women allowed to give birth in the city's hospitals which are struggling to cope with the tens of thousands who arrive each year.

Hong Kong women protest against mainland mothers

Jan 15, 2012

Pregnant women and mothers pushing strollers were among more than 1,500 protesters who took to the streets in Hong Kong Sunday to oppose the growing number of mainland Chinese giving birth in the city.

Recommended for you

Germany restricts fracking but doesn't ban it

12 minutes ago

The German cabinet drew up rules Wednesday on the hitherto unregulated technology of "fracking" in Germany, narrowly restricting its use, but stopping short of an outright ban.

Life in the poisonous breath of sleeping volcanos

52 minutes ago

Researchers of the University Jena analyze the microbial community in volcanically active soils. In a mofette close to the Czech river Plesná in north-western Bohemia, the team around Prof. Dr. Kirsten Küsel ...

Eggs and chicken instead of beef reap major climate gains

1 hour ago

Beef on our plates is one of the biggest climate villains, but that does not mean we have to adopt a vegan diet to reach climate goals. Research results from Chalmers University of Technology show that adopting ...

Local action needed to protect nature from global warming

4 hours ago

Stronger local management can increase the resilience of nature to the impacts of climate change, writes an international team of researchers in Science. The authors examined three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: ...

Deforestation is messing with our weather and our food

4 hours ago

Today, the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) at the University of Maryland published new research in Nature Communications providing insight into how large-scale deforestation could ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

The Singularity
not rated yet Aug 09, 2012
Maybe they should blame god for the weather. :D
Although its nice to see a company being environmentaly responsible for a change. Kudos to them.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.