Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Nearly 50 Dead in Explosion at Chinese Chemical Plant

Popular
Nearly 50 Dead in Explosion at Chinese Chemical Plant
Aerial view of the explosion site of a chemical factory on March 22 in Yancheng, Jiangsu Province of China. Caixin Media / VCG / Getty Images)

At least 47 people have died in an explosion at a plant in Yancheng, China Thursday run by a chemical company with a history of environmental violations, Sky News reported.


The blast forced more than 3,000 people to evacuate the area, AFP reported. More than 600 are injured and 90 are in the hospital with serious injuries following one of the country's worst industrial disasters in recent years. The blast from the explosion was so strong that it caused a minor earthquake and felled nearby factory buildings, trapping workers. It also blew out windows in houses around three miles away, according to Sky.

A 60-year-old woman with the last name Xiang told AFP that she had long been worried about the safety of the plant.

"We knew we'd be blown up one day," she said.


The blast caused fires to ignite in the industrial park where the plant was located, but firefighters said they had extinguished the flames by Friday. Hundreds of rescue workers had been sent to the area, according to local authorities.

However, residents in the surrounding area, many of them elderly, said they had not received any help from the government. Some had abandoned their homes and others were sweeping up the glass from broken windows themselves.

The plant where the explosion occurred was run by the Jiangsu Tianjiayi Chemical company, which produces more than 30 organic chemical compounds, according to Sky. In February of last year, China's State Administration for Work Safety found 13 safety hazards at the company, including improper handling of benzene, the chemical that caused Thursday's explosion. In total, the company had amassed 1,790,000 RMB (approximately $266,440) in fines since 2016 because of environmental violations.

The cause of Thursday's explosion is not yet known. Chinese President Xi Jinping, currently on a state visit to Italy, urged for "all-out efforts" to rescue those still trapped in collapsed buildings and for the cause of the incident be determined "as early as possible," AFP reported in a later article. Local authorities looking into the explosion said an undetermined number of people had been taken into custody on Friday.

Nearby residents are now concerned about the spread of pollution following the accident.

"We don't have drinkable water here," Xiang told AFP. "Why hasn't the government sent us some water?"

However, local environmental agencies said that they had set up monitors around the industrial park where the accident took place, and said that strong winds looked likely to flush out toxins in the air, CNN reported.

China has suffered a spate of industrial and mining disasters in its recent history, partly because of weak safety enforcement, BBC News reported. The largest in the last few years was a 2015 explosion in Tianjin that killed more than 160 and injured almost 1,000.

The Bond Fire, started by a structure fire that extended into nearby vegetation on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020 in Silverado, CA. Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times / Getty Images

Hot, dry and windy conditions fueled a wildfire southeast of Los Angeles Thursday that injured two firefighters and forced 25,000 to flee their homes.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Hospital workers evacuate patients from the Feather River Hospital during the Camp Fire on Nov. 8, 2018 in Paradise, California. People in 128 countries have experienced an increased exposure to wildfires, a new Lancet report finds. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

The climate crisis already has a death toll, and it will get worse if we don't act to reduce emissions.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Workers harvest asparagus in a field by the Niederaussem lignite coal power plant in Cologne, Germany. Greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning are reaching new highs. Henning Kaiser / picture alliance via Getty Images

By Stuart Braun

The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addressed the dire threat of climate change Wednesday in a speech on the state of the planet delivered at Columbia University in New York.

Read More Show Less

If you've been wanting to try CBD oil but have been concerned about the price, know that not only can you purchase affordable CBD oil, but you also can purchase high quality CBD oil at those affordable prices.

Read More Show Less
The miserable ones: Young broiler chickens at a feeder. The poor treatment of the chickens within its supply chain has made Tyson the target of public campaigns urging the company to make meaningful changes. U.S. Department of Agriculture / Flickr

By David Coman-Hidy

The actions of the U.S. meat industry throughout the pandemic have brought to light the true corruption and waste that are inherent within our food system. Despite a new wave of rising COVID-19 cases, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently submitted a proposal to further increase "the maximum slaughter line speed by 25 percent," which was already far too fast and highly dangerous. It has been made evident that the industry will exploit its workers and animals all to boost its profit.

Read More Show Less