Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung said Thursday that he supported the investigation into who was responsible for the plastic pellet spill incident, in which around 150 tons of plastic pellets were washed ashore on local beaches and fish farms.
A Hong Kong resident volunteers to clean plastic pellets.
According to local media reports, the plastic pellets were being shipped from Guangzhou to Shantou, both in South China's Guangdong Province, in six containers when the containers were blown into the sea sometime around June 24 when typhoon Vicente hit South China.
Leung told reporters the pellets must be cleared and attention should be paid to whether mariculturists need the city government' s assistance. He said he has been concerned about the spill and has maintained close contact with government departments involved in the clean-up.
Chief Secretary Carrie Lam said the city government would provide support to those in the mariculture industry affected by the plastic pellets spill.
"The Department of Justice together with the Marine Department are discussing the matter, tracing the whole incident, and looking at various parties involved," said Lam, who reiterated that the plastic pellets posed no immediate threat to food and environmental safety.
Also on Thursday, Sinopec, China's top refiner which had produced these tiny plastic pellets, promised that it would set up a 10-million HK dollar (1.3 million U.S. dollars) fund to assist in cleaning up the plastic pellets.
The money would also be used to locate and salvage a missing sixth container that was among those that fell overboard. Sinopec officials said their top priority was to find the missing container and halt further pollution.
Lu Dapeng, a spokesman for Sinopec, told a press conference that the company was deeply worried over the spill incident which led to environmental impact and caused disturbance and inconvenience among Hong Kong residents.
Regarding the issue over liability, Lu said it was up to judicial and administrative authorities to determine who is responsible for the incident. He also urged the shipping agent and carriers to provide incident reports as soon as possible.