SEPTEMBER 3RD 2015
DÉJÀ VU IN DONGYING
Less than three weeks since catastrophic explosions in Tianjin claimed the lives of 158 people, shortcomings in China’s safety standards and regulations have been horribly exposed once again, this time 300Km from the original blast site. The new incident comes shortly after explosions rocked a fireworks plant in the northwestern province of Gansu. With a chain of incidents scattered across the breadth of China, the latest incident in Dongying reads like a terrible case of déjà vu.
Shandong Binyuan Chemical Ltd., operating in Dongying’s industrial zone, is the latest scene to expose lax control. The plant, which produces adhesive materials exploded on the 31st of August at 11:22pm. The large explosion rocked the factory and although eventually extinguished five hours later, the incident has claimed at least five casualties.
An earlier inspection by officials had already resulted in a decree to halt trial production operations, a call which was ultimately ignored by company directors. In response to the latest explosions, Chinese officials claim to have launched an investigation, arresting six company executives, one of whom is the owner of the factory.
Attempts by local and international media to contact the company for commentary failed, while calls to the county propaganda department where also met with disdain and the click of a phone contacting the receiver.
The seeming replication of these incidents has lead to claims of political play, corruption and profiteering. Yet at the core of these explosions essentially lies a deeper catalyst that could have been averted with correct safety standards, accreditation and monitoring. Warehouse developers are riled with recent advances of tougher scrutiny for a sector plagued by a lack of safe storage spaces for hazardous goods. As officials clamp down on storage regulations, some businesses have taken shortcuts to cut costs, stockpiling hazardous chemicals in subpar warehouses.
Sadly, without real oversight and tightening the grip on lax standards, the string of explosions in industrial zones may only unravel to new lengths. Ensuring safety of both staff and the public rests solely in correct quality control and supervision.
Annex Asia Publishing