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3 dead, dozens injured as blast rocks Coatzacoalcos facility

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MEXICO CITY — A blast at an oil facility in south-eastern Mexico has killed at least three workers, injured 30 more and triggered a mass evacuation, officials and state-run energy giant Pemex said.

A huge plume of toxic grey smoke could be seen spewing from the plant known as Pajaritos, in the city of Coatzacoalcos.

The blast, which was felt from as far as 10 kilometres away, forced the evacuation of nearby schools and businesses.

The cause of the explosion at the Petroquimica Mexicana de Vinilo plant was not immediately known. The facility is jointly owned by Pemex.

Veracruz state governor Javier Duarte told Milenio Television that the blast killed three people at the plant.

Mr Duarte rushed to the scene of what he said was “a very strong explosion”, as fire crews were battling to bring the fierce blaze under control.

People living in the vicinity were ordered to remain indoors.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said on Twitter that the government would help the “affected workers and neighbours of the area.”

Fires at oil facilities in Mexico are fairly regular occurrences.

In February, two people were killed and at least seven injured in a blaze at a Pemex oil platform off the coast of Campeche, also in the south-east.

AFP

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Over 70% of deep-sea fish of Atlantic Ocean have ingested plastic : Study

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Fragments of plastic are found throughout the world, from nearly every continent to nearly every body of water. But, researchers recently have found 73 percent of Northwest Atlantic deep-sea fish are also eating it — the highest reported frequency of plastic-eating fish in the world.

Plastic particles were found in some of the most remote parts of the Atlantic Ocean with almost three quarters of a sample of more than 230 deep-water fish collected by NUI Galway scientists having ingested plastic particles.

The contamination level among the fish species, located in the northwest Atlantic thousands of kilometres from land and 600m down in the ocean, is one of the highest reported frequencies of microplastic occurrence in fish worldwide, according to the study published in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science.

The NUIG scientists, as part of the study, participated in a transatlantic crossing onboard the marine institute’s Celtic Explorer vessel.

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PhD candidate and lead author Alina Wieczorek said, “Deep-water fish migrate to the surface at night to feed on plankton [microscopic animals] and this is likely when they are exposed to the microplastics.”

During this research cruise they took dead deep-sea fish from midwater trawls such as the spotted lanternfish, rakery beaconlamp, stout saw-palate and scaly dragonfish.

Microplastics are small plastic fragments that commonly originate from the breakdown of larger plastic items entering the ocean. Other sources may be waste water effluents carrying plastic fibres from clothing and microbeads from personal care products. Due to their low density, most of these microplastics float at the sea surface.

The fish ranged in size from the smallest species the Glacier Lantern at 3.5cm to the largest species, the stout saw-palate at 59cm.

Agencies

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