15,000 people and key Yangtze River ecosystem areas in close proximity to Jiangsu Deqiao Chemical Storage facility fire, Greenpeace

Press release - 2016-04-23
Beijing, 23 April, 2016 - Yesterday morning at 09:40 the Jiangsu Deqiao Chemical Storage facility in Jingjiang city, Jiangsu Province, caught fire. The facility, located next to the Yangtze River, stores up to 56 chemicals categorised as ‘hazardous’ by the Chinese government. Greenpeace East Asia analysis has found that up to 15,000 people live within 5km of the site. A number of water and ecosystem protection areas are also in close proximity to the facility. The accident is yet another example of the worrying lack of oversight and management of China’s chemical industry, and a reminder of the risks this poses to ecosystems and citizens across the country.

“Not a week has passed since the Changzhou ‘toxic school’ case, and already another potentially dangerous chemicals disaster has hit the news”, said Greenpeace East Asia toxics campaign assistant manager, Cheng Qian.

“The government must urgently investigate the dangers hazardous chemicals in China pose to people and the environment and act to prevent these all-too-common incidents from occurring again.”

The Jiangsu Deqiao Chemical Storage facility’s January 2016 Environmental Impact Assessment states that the facility poses high risks to the adjacent environmentally sensitive area. Within 5km of the facility there are a total of 28 villages, housing up to 15,000 people. The closest village is just 335 meters from the storage facility. Moreover, two drinking water protection areas (Qingsha Protected Area and Yaqiao Protected Area) and three Ecological Protection Areas are located close to the facility.

The Jiangsu Deqiao Chemical Storage facility’s January 2016 Environmental Impact Assessment states that the facility poses high risks to the adjacent environmentally sensitive area. Within 5km of the facility there are a total of 28 villages, housing up to 15,000 people. The closest village is just 335 meters from the storage facility. Moreover, two drinking water protection areas (Qingsha Protected Area and Yaqiao Protected Area) and three Ecological Protection Areas are located close to the facility.

‘Jiangsu Deqiao Chemical Storage Company Ltd. (Including Jingjiang Shuangjiang Port Company) Storage Zone and Pier Adjustments and New Project Environmental Impact Assessment Report’, January 2016 [1]

On 19 April MEP Minister Chen Jining noted the problems in China’s chemicals industry, pointing out that 12% of hazardous chemical facilities nationwide are located within 1km of drinking water protection areas, important ecosystem protection areas and other environmentally sensitive zones. He also noted that 10% of facilities are located less than 1km from residential areas. [2]

Earlier this year, President Xi Jinping called for environmental protection and ‘green development’ in the Yangtze River Economic Belt. [3] Yet, the Yangtze River is also seeing an expanding chemical industry , whose lax management of is one of the major threats to the region’s fragile environment and safety.

Greenpeace urges the government to evaluate the hazards and long-term impacts of hazardous  chemicals in use in China, and to develop a sound chemical management system that prevents industrial discharges, emissions and losses of hazardous chemicals into water bodies, air and soil.

Notes to Editor:

[1]  http://hbj.taizhou.gov.cn/module/download/downfile.jsp?classid=0&filename=1601120942545126369.pdf

[2]  http://www.nbd.com.cn/articles/2016-04-20/999551.html

[3]  http://xw.qq.com/news/20160107049460/NEW2016010704946006

Media Contact:

Tom Baxter,
International Communications Officer, Greenpeace East Asia,
email:
phone: +86 188 1134 4861

Greenpeace International Press Desk
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phone: +31 (0) 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours)

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