Post by Mark Memmott, The Two-Way at NPR News (9/12/13)
Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL
"Everything down there is dead."
That's one stunning quote from Hawaii News Now's latest report about the devastating damage that's been done to the marine life off Honolulu's Sand Island by 233,000 gallons of molasses that were spilled into Honolulu harbor on Monday.
Gary Gill, deputy director of Hawaii's Environmental Health Division of the Health Department, tells the news station that "this is the worst environmental damage to sea life that I have come across."
The station sent diver Roger White into the water to see what's happened to sea creatures there. He shot video and came back to say that:
"It was shocking because the entire bottom is covered with dead fish. Small fish, crabs, mole crabs, eels. Every type of fish that you don't usually see, but now they're dead. Now they're just laying there. Every single thing is dead. We're talking in the hundreds, thousands. I didn't see one single living thing underwater."
As Hawaii Public Radio's Bill Dorman tells our Newscast Desk, the state Health Department has advised the public to stay out of the water. It warns that "while molasses is not harmful to the public directly, the substance is polluting the water, causing fish to die and could lead to an increase in predator species such as sharks, barracuda and eels. The nutrient rich liquid could also cause unusual growth in marine algae, stimulate an increase in harmful bacteria and trigger other environmental impacts."