China to launch new safety crackdown on chemical industry

November 14, 2019 10:20
Chinese authorities are preparing to a launch a new round of inspections on facilities involved in production of hazardous chemicals. Photo: Bloomberg

China has unveiled plans for a nationwide safety crackdown on its chemical industry following an investigation into a deadly factory blast that killed 78 people and injured dozens more in March, Reuters reports.

The explosion, at the Tianjiayi chemical factory in Yancheng in eastern coastal Jiangsu province, has already resulted in the closure of dozens of small plants, and China expects to relocate more than 80 percent of hazardous chemical production by the end of 2020.

A meeting of the State Council chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday said an inquiry into the blast revealed that local authorities had failed to implement safety rules or crack down on violations.

A summary of the meeting on China’s official government website showed Beijing will launch a new round of inspections into hazardous chemical producers throughout the country.

Local governments must eliminate all hazards around production, storage, transportation and waste disposal, the State Council said.

Authorities will also work on new legislation to help enforce safety rules and punish offenders, and curb “blind and disorderly” development in the industry.

As well as tighter zoning regulations that prevent chemical plants from being built near residential areas, China is now implementing new rules on the transportation and disposal of hazardous materials.

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