A recently released reported has revealed a grim statistic about the state of the chemical industry in China.
According to the report by Greenpeace, chemical accidents have caused 199 deaths and injured another 400 so far this year. In total, there were 232 accidents, which occurred during the production, transportation and storage of chemicals.
“China’s chemicals industry is the largest in the world, but it is appallingly underregulated,” Cheng Qian, a Greenpeace activist who studies toxic chemicals, said in the report. “The government must take urgent action,” she said.
According to the New York Times, the investigation by Greenpeace used government data. Most of the accidents involved highly toxic chemicals and more than half occurred during transportation. Explosions were responsible for two out of 5 of the deaths.
The report was released about a year after the massive explosion in Tianjin which killed about 165 people, injured 800 and caused about $1.1 billion in damage. The explosion, which happened in a warehouse, was one of the deadliest industrial accidents in Chinese history.
The explosion’s proximity to a busy urban area also highlighted one of the riskier elements of the industry in China — people are often living and working within close range of chemical production and transportation.
After Tianjin, public pressure in China grew to impose tighter restrictions on the industry, but these latest findings by Greenpeace show that perhaps little progress has been made.
“Tragic accidents occur on an almost daily basis. The government must take urgent action to manage chemicals in a sound manner, provide a safety net for workers and citizens, and protect ecologically important areas across the country,” Qian said.