‘The Poop Piles Up’: Images Show Chinese Ships Putting Human Waste Into South China Sea, Experts Say

China Military Online/Li Wei

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Chinese ships operating in a disputed area of the South China Sea have been dumping raw sewage into the water, threatening marine life, a Monday report shows.

Simularity, a US-based data analysis and geospatial imagery company, released satellite images Monday, showing the extent of damage inflicted to coral reefs in the area by hundreds of anchored Chinese fishing vessels discharging human waste.

Over the past five years, there has been an increase in the chlorophyll-a concentration, which indicates a significant boost in the population of algae that feed off human waste, the report says.

“When the ships don’t move, the poop piles up. The hundreds of ships that are anchored in the Spratlys are dumping raw sewage onto the reefs they are occupying,” Liz Derr, the head of Simularity, said Monday at a Philippine online news forum on China’s actions in the South China Sea — the territory claimed by Beijing almost in its entirety — according to The Associated Press.

On June 17 alone, at least 236 ships were spotted in the atoll, internationally known as Union Banks, Derr said. (RELATED: UK Navy To Deploy Largest Fleet In Decades To South China Sea)

“This is a catastrophe of epic proportions and we are close to the point of no return,” Derr added.

President Joe Biden’s administration has maintained a Trump-era stance, challenging China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea. The Biden administration has warned that an attack on the Philippines would draw a significant U.S. response.

China opposes any U.S. military activity in the region. However, five other governments, including the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia, all claim territory in the sea as well.