An oil pollution belt extending two kilometers has been detected since Tuesday in seawaters off Xiamen, a port city in East China's Fujian Province that faces the Taiwan Island across the Taiwan Straits.
The oil spill appeared Tuesday morning along the coastline in Zengcuo'an, a new residential area on Huandao Road on the outskirts of Xiamen, and people began to complain of smells of engine oil from the road.
Local authorities in charge of maritime affairs and environment protection started an investigation immediately, the local Straits Metropolitan newspaper reported.
Cleaners tried to fish out garbage in the seawaters and used spongy cloth to absorb the oil on Tuesday and have prevented the pollution belt from extending further.
A spokesman with the city's environment authority said they had taken sample of the polluted water for lab work.
"The test results will show whether the seawater has been contaminated, but at least the beach has been," he was quoted as saying.
Zengcuo'an is home to many new settlers in the city and has several apartment buildings accommodating students of the Xiamen University.