Chinese officials said Thursday that air quality in the core area near the Tianjin blast is within controllable levels. Authorities also said they have identified a total of 107 of the 114 dead from the explosions that racked the the city on August 12. An additional 69 people remain missing, and 648 are still being hospitalized, with 16 in critical condition.
Eight specific pollutants have been monitored, and five of them exceeded the standard limits up until August 16. Since then, the air quality has gotten under control, according to statistics from monitoring spots.
Tian Weiyong, director of the emergency center at the Environmental Protection Ministry said that more assessments are needed to determine if there is any long-term impact on the environment.
Forty-two monitoring spots have been set up to access the water quality, with 26 inside the isolation area near the blast site. Among them, nineteen spots have been tested for cyanide, and eight spots have seen excessive levels of the compound, with a maximum 356 times more than the national standard found. Water quality outside the isolation area is not abnormal.
According to experts, 73 monitoring spots have been set up in a five-kilometer radius around the blast site to access the soil quality.
Meanwhile, a large number of fish washed ashore in Tianjin, about 6 kilometers (3/7 miles) from the blast site. In response, scientists gone to the site for further analysis.
Deng Xiaowen, head of environment monitoring of Tianjin environmental protection authority, said the water areas where the dead fish appeared are under regular monitoring. A few hours later, researchers said no toxic levels of cyanide were found in water samples. The dead fish may have been caused by a lack of oxygen, he added, saying scientists were still looking into the matter.
China’s President Xi Jinping also addressed the CPC Politburo Standing Committee Thursday and continued to stress that officials conduct a through investigation into the accident.
WAREHOUSE BREACHED SAFETY STANDARDS
The site of the Ruihai International Logistics warehouse, which was at the center of the deadly explosion, had breached China’s national safety standards, officials said.
A medium or large warehouse should be at least 1,000 meters (3,281 feet) away from public buildings, arterial roads and industrial and mining enterprises, according to Chinese regulations.
Ruihai, a 46,000-square-meter warehouse (495,140 square feet), which stored a range of deadly chemicals including sodium cyanide and potassium nitrate, was only 500 meters (1,640 feet) away from a railway line and 600 meters (1,969 feet) from residential buildings.
“The location of the warehouse severely violates our national standards on environmental risk appraisal and production safety, and also breaches a regulation that important facilities should be located far away from hazardous chemicals,” said Jin Lei, Deputy Secretary General of China Association for Disaster Prevention.
Around 90,000 people were living within a 5-kilometer (3.1 miles) radius of the blasts site. The residential buildings were built in 2010, one year before the warehouse facility was given approval.
Locals told CCTV News that they were never informed that their apartments were right next to a warehouse packed with dangerous chemicals.
Story by CCTV News.