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Devastating Explosions at the Chinese port city of Tianjin: – Time to boost up Health and Safety Efforts

Last week had been very grim for China as devastating chemical explosions occurred at the warehouse facilities of Tianjin raising apocalyptic fireballs into the sky. Tianjin Dongjiang Port Rui Hai International Logistics is the company that owned the warehouse.

(Photograph: Japan meteorological agency /AFP/Getty Images)

The explosions were so huge that they were seen from space. Japan meteorological agency released some satellite images which shows a white spot at the center of the photo – getting bigger. This image shown here was taken on 12 August.

Not only this killed and injured huge manpower but simultaneously posed serious questions over the emergency preparedness, awareness and industrial safety in China.

The Tianjin Tanggu environmental monitoring station noted that, hazardous chemicals like calcium carbide, sodium cyanide and toluene diisocyanate were some of the hazardous chemicals stored by the company concerned. According to local reports, Deputy Director at Tianjin’s fire department, Niu Yuegang has confirmed that 40 different types of chemicals have been found at the blast site, including 500 tonnes of potassium nitrate, 700 tonnes of sodium cyanide and 800 tonnes of ammonium nitrate. All of the chemicals pose direct threats to human health on contact. Chinese government confessed that blast led to some contamination, which was further enhanced by the prevailing winds pushing it out to sea rather than inland towards Tianjin city centre and other urban areas nearby.

These blasts were so devastating that they trembled homes over huge distances from the actual site, also flaming debris were seen arching over nearby high-rise buildings. Emergency measures are ongoing but the destruction caused unmeasurable.

These type of hazards teach us that change in present system is required. Although health and safety has always been a global concern, with continuous increase in disasters and higher accidental statistics there is a high need to work towards the same with proper planning and disaster management preparedness. Advancement in technology has now made it easier to maintain real time records, comply with regulations to ensure safe and healthy environment.

Simplifying complex storage processes can be a certain solution to an issue of this magnitude. However, there is more that needs to be thought of for saving catastrophic occurrences like these. What do you think? Is there a better way to improve the safety in such a case? Let us know through your comments.

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