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UPDATED: August 9, 2010 NO. 32 AUGUST 12, 2010
Flaw in the Pearl

Dalian, the coastal city in northeast China's Liaoning Province, is a famous summer resort. It attracts flocks of domestic visitors with pleasant weather, golden beaches and delicious seafood. Like Davos, the small Swiss town famous for hosting the annual World Economic Forum's winter summit, Dalian has burst on to the world business map, hosting the annual meeting of Global Growth Companies known as the "Summer Davos."

All this added up makes the recent oil spill in the "pearl of north China" unbearable and unacceptable.

On July 16, heavy crude oil was spilled into Dalian's coastal waters, the result of two oil pipeline explosions that rocked the port. The spill of 1,500 tons, though less than 0.5 percent that released into the ocean by the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20—an estimated 414,000-1,186,000 tons—is still significant because of its location.

At the end of July, clean-up operations had been basically completed, normal services at the port had been resumed. Local government and people are upbeat about the prospects of a prosperous future. But, a final report about the biological and environemental disaster and its consequence will not be available soon.

Dalian has been on the development fast-lane track in past decades. It is a business hub for northeast China. Future plans pin hopes for growth on the petrochemical industry. Petrochemical enterprises in the city have been expanding the scope of their business, as demand for and consumption of petroleum rocket. Besides processing petrol products, Dalian, a busy port, serves for export and transit shipments of petroleum products day and night. The city aspires to grow into China's largest petrochemical base during the next 10 years.

In the wake of the spill, this ambition is, however, instilling worries and doubts. Building the beautiful resort of Dalian into a petrochemical base demands the utmost care. Dalian is the pride of China, where we can escape summer's heat and indulge in holiday fun. Summer Davos chose Dalian as a host city because it is "clearly the ideal location to bring all these companies together." In such a place, a blueprint for development of petrochemical industry must be carried out flawlessly, which is the basic requirement of the environment and residents.

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