Rotting dogs, assailed nostrils, withered roses… just a story about gutter oil here
This is a frightening lede. It is frightening indeed. More so if you knew this frightening read is about the food you eat.
It’s from Caixin Online.
It’s oil with an extra something, but there’s nothing virgin-like about it.
Pumped from sewers outside of restaurants, or pressed from trash, the oil is born from waste holes both human and mechanical.
We’re immediately introduced to a man named Liu Liguo, who reveals that the process of transforming the oil found in sewers into biodiesel includes melting, stewing, hydrolysis, filtration, and distillation, all so that one comes away with a product that is “clearer and smelled less.” Yes, odorless gutter oil is indeed important. Described in frightening detail, the oil then “would enter the gas-fractionation plant and separated to form the final products. Fatty acids accounted for 30 to 40 percent, and ‘red oil’ accounted for 60 to 70 percent.”
What do these things mean? We’re not really sure. But the byproduct sure seemed toxic:
A woman surnamed Feng from a nearby village said that Jinan Gelin Bioenergy was a heavy polluter. “It smelled like rotting dogs. The stench assailed the nostrils until you retched, and then your head ached.” After the plant went into operation, roses planted nearby withered and died. Fruit on nearby trees turned black and fell to the ground. Rabbits and chickens died of respiratory tract infections. The local residents petitioned authorities several times to no avail.
Are we reading about the oil that cooks our food or the gates of Beelzebub’s Pandemonium? Christ! Rotting dogs. Assailed nostrils. WITHERING ROSES. The blackened bodies of fallen fruit, surely symbolic of the corruption of youth and innocence.
Liu was arrested, along with more than 50 others. At its peak, his company produced 60 tons of oil per day, which we’re told “can contain carcinogenic compounds and hazardous chemicals.”
The Shandong Oilman (Caixin)