Govt should step up oil spill monitoring: activist

A conservationist has called for more detailed monitoring of Hong Kong waters affected by the recent palm oil spill, saying the focus so far has only been on beaches that are popular with swimmers. WWF-Hong Kong’s ocean conservation manager, Samantha Lee, said the government should also watch out for any unusual fish deaths in the waters off Hong Kong. The government had said a helicopter survey over affected areas showed there were only patches of oil left in Hong Kong waters and they didn’t pose a problem for water quality. Officials said they would speed up efforts to finish cleaning the worst affected sites, such as around Lamma Island. Lee, expressed concern that the impact of the spill was actually greater than thought because the government hadn’t yet reached remote beaches. The official focus is on beaches which are popular with swimmers, she said. “I wonder if the [remote] beaches got ignored.” Lee told RTHK’s Mike Weeks that even though palm oil is not toxic, the reaction it will cause among marine organisms like algae can lead to environmental damage.