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China's largest oil spill off the northeastern port city of Dalian has doubled since the pipeline explosion a week ago. Cleanup efforts have continued with straw mats, and frazzled workers wearing little more than rubber gloves. Officials warn, that marine life and water quality are severely threatened, unless cleanup efforts makes efficient progress.
China's latest environmental crisis has spread off the shores of Dalian, once named the country's most livable city.
Although no footage is available yet to show the extent of the damage, the National Oceanic Administration announced that one-third of Dalian's sand beaches have been covered with oil.
Environmental groups that spent days at sea inspecting the spill also said the few bays they have been to were almost entirely polluted. The oil is half solid and half liquid and as sticky as asphalt.
The oil has now spread over 400 square kilometers of water almost a week after a pipeline explosion. Crude shipments were hurt from part of China's strategic oil reserves to the rest of the country. Despite resuming, shipments on Thursday were still down compared to normal days.
Fishing has been suspended in water around Dalian until the end of August. An official with the city's maritime safety administration said the oil spill poses a severe threat to marine wildlife, water quality and sea birds.
Workers turned out in thousands to clean the blackened sea and beaches. But officials admit efforts have been hampered by a shortage of proper oil cleanup materials.
Dalian's city government aims to collect the spilt oil within five days, but an official with the National Oceanic Administration has warned the slick will be difficult to clean up even in twice that amount of time.
Locals fear that if the oil can't be cleaned up by the beginning of September, seafood products will be spoiled because due to the oil's odor.
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- Massive oil spill clean-up operation underway off coast of Dalian City 2010-07-20
- Dalian oil spill cleanup in full swing after pipeline explosion 2010-07-20
- Cleanup underway in Dalian Bay 2010-07-19