China relocates 10 chemical plants due to accident risk

China to change locations of 10 chemical plants too close to residential areas, due to chemical accident six months ago

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

Firefighters try to extinguish a fire at a petrochemical plant in Zhangzhou, Fujian province April 7, 2015.

Authorities in the Chinese city of Tianjin are changing the location of 10 chemical plants after they are found too close to residential areas, due to a chemical accident killed 173 people six months ago.

The Tianjin Binhai New Area experienced one of China’s worst industrial accidents in August due to an explosion of combustible chemicals in a warehouse less than one kilometer away from apartments, which was the legal measure in the area.

The head of Binhai Work Safety Bureau’s officer Shi, by not giving specific information whether they were one kilometer close, reported to The Associated Press on Monday that 10 chemical plants were close to the residential area.

A recent review according to Chinese media reports, found 85 out of 583 chemical companies to be in danger, two of which were being moved beginning last month at a cost of more than $4 billion.

Shi also stated that under a new plan to isolate chemical-related firms at the Nangang industrial zone, 75 plants with problems were not near residential areas but will eventually be moved 30 kilometers south, aside from the 10 plants being moved.

Tianjin is considered to be turned into the new financial nexus of northern China by government leaders in Beijing, owing to the city being one of the world’s busiest ports.

Nevertheless, the city’s image dramatically distorted under the shadow of the August blast, which damaged 17,000 homes, evaporated entire tracks of parked cars and left 6 meters deep crater behind, raising concerns about the downside of rapid development.

The central government has pledged to back up industrial regulations countrywide and a cabinet panel earlier this month recommended punishing 120 people, including high-level Communist Party officials in Tianjin and company executives for violating the laws.

TRTWorld and agencies