A few days ago, hundreds of dead or dying eel and fish washed ashore in China. Their bodies covered beaches in the province of Guangdong and made the air almost unbreathable.
Local communities were quick to blame oil company China National Offshore for the incident.
They suspect that two oil refineries operated by this company have discharged highly contaminated wastewater into the South China Sea, and that this has caused the mass stranding.
Local authorities denied these rumors, and argued that, as far as specialists sent to investigate the issue could tell, the sea creatures had all died of natural causes.
Their explanation for this phenomenon is that the movement of ocean currents depleted local waters of oxygen, Global Times reports.
Therefore, the animals' death was merely the result of oxygen deficiency.
“About 100 kilograms (about 220 pounds) of fish was washed ashore. Maybe it's the large quantity that caused the speculation,” specialist Li Guihe reportedly said.
“We will go on monitoring the ocean current and give warning in advance,” he added.
The two oil refineries accused of discharging contaminated wastewater in local marine environments also say that they had absolutely nothing to do with the incident.
They admit that they occasionally dump water they use while carrying on with their daily routine in the South China Sea, but maintain that the chemical make-up of this wastewater is closely monitored and that it abides by national standards.
Therefore, it does not cause pollution and cannot be blamed for the death of these hundreds of eel and fish.
What's interesting is that, at least for the time being, the local Chinese Environmental Protection Bureau refuses to make any comments concerning the incident and its potential causes.
As reported on several occasions, China is currently dealing with a major pollution crisis. Odds are this is the reason why people have trouble believing that the death of these fish and eels was brought about by natural causes alone.