A huge oil spill in northwest China has heavily polluted a tributary of the Yellow River.
A huge oil spill in northwest China has heavily polluted a tributary of the Yellow River, and threatens to reach one of the country"s longest and most important sources of water.
China"s state-run news media said late Saturday that a ?large amount? of diesel oil had leaked out of a pipeline last Thursday in Shaanxi Province.
The government has not explained why the report of the spill was not released until late Saturday. But Xinhua, the official state news agency, said the leak was caused by construction work and that a crew of 700 people was struggling to contain the damage from about 150,000 liters, or about 40,000 gallons, of diesel oil.
The damaged pipeline belongs to the China National Petroleum Corporation, one of the country"s state-owned oil giants and the parent company of PetroChina. The company said Saturday that it had shut down the pipeline and that ?much of the leaked oil and polluted silt has already been taken away.? But government officials in Shaanxi province said on Saturday that oil has been detected far downstream from the leak and warned local residents not to use water in the region.
The oil pipeline, which transports oil from northwest China to central parts of the country, was damaged and released oil into the Chisui River and Wei River, a tributary of the Yellow River, according to Xinhua.
The Yellow River, which stretches for about 5,500 kilometers, or about 3,400 miles, is a source of water for approximately 140 million residents, and it also provides water to factories and farms through northern China.
In November 2005, a huge oil spill damaged the Songhua River in north China"s Heilongjiang Province, cutting off water supplies for millions of residents.
Some local officials were disciplined for a delay in reporting the spill, which later created a panic among residents.