Nov 2, 2009

Ship carrying Hydrochloric Acid Sinks in China

Environmentalists will be shocked to hear another potentially hazardous accident has taken place in China’s Yangtze River, where a ship carrying 100 tons of hydrochloric acid recently sunk. The ship collided with another vessel during bad weather, but it is not known whether any acid leaked into the river, which is also a major source of drinking and irrigation water.

The pH tests of the river revealed the acidity levels were in the normal range (7.5 to 8), but the real impact of the accident can only be assessed once all containers have been recovered. This is particularly worrisome since tens of millions of people rely on River Yangtze for water.

Environmentally hazardous accidents are not uncommon in China. Within the last week, an Iranian tanker, after damage from rocks in the riverbed, spilt plenty of oil into the river. The workers were rescued but the river’s ecology is still at risk since the cleanup isn’t complete yet.

It is evident China’s waterways are vulnerable in view of the government’s extreme emphasis on economic growth at the expense of environmental standards. Already, China produces the most carbon dioxide, making it the biggest contributors to global warming.

Sources: AFP, Reuters, Telegraph UK, AB
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