The whole area is black”… Chemical spill from a beer brewery “turned the beautiful sea of Okinawa red” – Shocking photos of the scene. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

The whole area is black”… Chemical spill from a beer brewery “turned the beautiful sea of Okinawa red” – Shocking photos of the scene.

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Nago Bay, Okinawa, dyed reddish black

The beautiful sea of Okinawa has turned reddish black–.

When I woke up in the morning and looked outside, I saw that the normally beautiful sea had turned a different color all over. It was a blackish-black color, a mixture of red and black. I have never seen anything like this before.

On June 27, an accident occurred in Nago Bay, Okinawa, when cooling water used at a factory spilled into the sea. The leak occurred at the nearby Orion Brewery Nago factory.

The factory is located about 600 meters from the sea. According to Orion Beer’s explanation, the cooling water used to cool the equipment leaked from a pipe and flowed out of the river into the sea. The cooling water was colored with a chemical called ‘propylene glycol. The leakage has already been stopped, but the amount of the leaked water is still under investigation. The sea has turned a shocking color,” said a reporter from a local newspaper.

Propylene glycol is a substance used in food additives, but it is by no means harmless. According to the Ministry of the Environment, it irritates the eyes and causes redness and pain if it gets into the eyes. Repeated contact causes the skin to become hypersensitive to the irritation. Experimental results have also been reported that long-term administration to cats showed abnormalities in the spleen and liver.

Leaked Substances Cannot Be Recovered

Orion Beer apologized to local fishermen and others and explained that safety has not been affected. The public health department, which has jurisdiction over the situation, conducted an on-site inspection of the factory and pointed out the laxity of the crisis management. Since the leaked material cannot be recovered and will have to wait to be diffused into seawater, there is some concern.

A local resident expressed his concern, saying, “No matter how much of the substance is used in food additives, it is still a problem.

A local resident said with concern, “No matter how much of the substance is used in food additives, it is not good for your health if the amount exceeds the proper level. The amount of the substance that leaked out this time must have been quite large, since it turned the sea bright red. Propylene glycol is absorbed by shellfish and small fish, which are then eaten by larger fish, and if the propylene glycol is gradually bio-concentrated, the concentration will increase. I am concerned about whether it is safe for people to eat such fish.

Some are concerned about the impact on tourism.

The spread of the new coronavirus has settled down, and tourists are finally returning to Okinawa. It is at this time that such a shocking accident occurred. …… I am worried that people who are planning to travel to Okinawa will avoid Nago.

The CSR and Public Relations Department of Orion Beer Co.

The piping that sends cooling water to the cooling system for the beer tanks has been out of service for a year and a half, and was put back into service in March. To prevent this from happening again, we plan to increase the capacity of the liquid-proof container and install a sensor to detect any leakage.

In June 2010, cyanide, a highly toxic substance, leaked from the Kimitsu district of Nippon Steel Corporation’s East Japan Steel Works, turning a nearby river red. In January of this year, the Chiba Coast Guard raided the company on suspicion of violating the Water Pollution Control Law.

Repeated spills of toxic substances from factories. Unless the management system is strengthened, residents will continue to be exposed to risk.

Once spread, chemicals cannot be recovered
There are concerns not only about the effects on the human body, but also about the natural environment
The beautiful seascape of Okinawa has been drastically changed in a day
Local residents are growing concerned
  • Interview and text by Masayoshi Katayama


  • PHOTO Hiroaki Oshiro

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