Local scientists are saying that a giant molasses spill in Honolulu has quickly become one of the worst marine disasters in Hawaiian history.
The spill was caused by a corroded pipe that transported the molasses from storage thanks to ships. NPR says 233,000 gallons of molasses were spilled into the harbor on Monday before the leak was stopped on Tuesday. That’s enough to fill seven rail cars, FoxNews said.
You can kind of see the outline of the brown stain in the water in this aerial shot from NBC news:
There’s nothing they can do to clean up the spill, since the sugary liquid floats to the bottom of the water.
A little sugary liquid doesn’t seem like it would destroy an entire community of animals, but because the liquid is heavier than the seawater, it sinks to the bottom and disperses far and wide. Because it doesn’t carry oxygen as well as water does, the sea life suffocates.
Thousands of fish have died. A diver surveying the scene said “everything down there is dead.”There will be long-lasting environmental effects of the spill, as the marine community has been changed so drastically. The nutrient-rich molasses could also feed a bloom of bacteria and algae, and the dead animals could start to rot and spread harmful bacteria.
Here’s a video showing some of the devastation.
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