China’s largest reported oil spill had more than doubled by Wednesday, closing beaches on the Yellow Sea and prompting an environmental official to warn the sticky black crude posed a “severe threat” to sea life and water quality.
Some workers trying to clean up the inky beaches wore little more than rubber gloves, complicating efforts, one official said. But 40 oil-control boats and hundreds of fishing boats were also deployed in the area.
“I’ve been to a few bays today and discovered they were almost entirely covered with dark oil,” said Zhong Yu, a worker with the environmental group Greenpeace China, who spent Wednesday on a boat inspecting the spill.
“The oil is half-solid and half liquid and is as sticky as asphalt,” she told The Associated Press.
See also: “China oil spill after pipe blast ‘worse than thought’” from BBC and “Man Rescued After Nearly Drowning in China’s Oil Spill” from ABC:
Xinhua, China’s state-run news agency, reported on Tuesday that a 25-year-old firefighter drowned when a large wave knocked him into the sea during the clean up.
Officials also told Xinhua that they don’t know how much oil spilled, but that they were trying to have it cleaned up in 5 days. Other officials have said that goal is impossible to meet.
The Boston Globe has posted a series of photos of the spill.