Beijing, February 6, 2016 – Following the release of the official Tianjin blast investigation report, Greenpeace urges the government to systematically review and reform the chemicals management system in China.
“This report explains some of the immediate causes of the Tianjin blasts. However, what last August’s tragedy showed the world was the extreme urgency for reform in China’s lax chemicals management system, which sees hundreds of accidents per year. Lessons must be learnt and Tianjin should be the catalyst for the comprehensive change that is needed,” said Greenpeace East Asia’s Toxics Assistant Campaign Manager, Cheng Qian.
“The investigative report clearly recognises the need to implement an effective information monitoring system in China’s chemicals industry. Greenpeace urges that such a system be made transparent and open to public scrutiny.”
China is the world’s second largest hazardous chemicals manufacturer, as well as the second largest chemicals consumer. Yet its chemicals industry has an appalling safety record. 320 chemical related accidents, accounting for the death of 2200 people were recorded between 2010-14, according to the State Administration of Work Safety.
Non-compliance and negligence on the part of companies and local administrations are among the root causes of these alarmingly frequent chemical accidents, but the chemical management system as a whole is also plagued with loopholes and a general lack of transparency.
An effective chemicals management system must be based on three key components: chemical identification, risk and alternatives assessment, and an understanding of risk control and emergency measures. These requirements could be assured by the introduction of a transparent and precautionary system, as used in the United States and Europe.
Greenpeace urges the Chinese government to assess and systematically reform its chemical management system post Tianjin blasts. Specifically, a comprehensive safety and environmental management system for the manufacture, use, transportation, storage and treatment of hazardous chemicals should be introduced and strictly enforced. At the same time, a culture of transparency must be introduced into the industry.
International Communications Officer, Greenpeace East Asia
email: [email protected]
phone: +86 188 1134 4861
Greenpeace International Press Desk
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Greenpeace stands for positive change through action to defend the natural world and promote peace. We are a non-profit organisation with a presence in 40 countries. To maintain its independence, Greenpeace does not accept donations from governments or corporations but relies on contributions from individual supporters and foundation grants.www.greenpeace.org/eastasia