DHAKA: As Bangladeshi authorities examine the causes of a lethal cargo depot hearth that shook the nation earlier this month, scientists have warned that the catastrophe may have a longer-term influence on the surroundings and well being of native communities.
Greater than 40 folks had been killed and 200 injured — largely port employees and firefighters — within the hearth and subsequent explosions on the depot in Sitakunda, close to the southeastern port of Chittagong, which handles a lot of the nation’s garment exports.
The hearth that broke out on June 4 and took three days to douse was one of many nation’s worst industrial disasters in years.
Authorities haven’t decided the precise reason behind the hearth however mentioned that leakage from a container of hydrogen peroxide was probably the supply of the preliminary blaze. An official report is predicted to be launched this month.
Environmental evaluation could take longer. The testing of samples from the realm is underway, however Prof. Mohammad Aftab Ali Sheikh, chairman of the Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Analysis, mentioned that it was already clear that the area will likely be affected, particularly its soil and water our bodies.
“Undoubtedly the explosion and hearth have some subsequent impacts on the surroundings in that space. The soil of that space will likely be contaminated via the water blended with totally different chemical compounds. A portion of chemical-mixed water has flown to water our bodies, which is able to create some hazards. As well as, that space witnessed some rainfall additionally which carried this chemical-mixed water to the rivers,” he advised Arab Information on Wednesday.
Air air pollution ensuing from the hearth could attain locations a whole bunch of kilometers away. “The fuel generated from the explosions and burning had unfold over within the air. This air may need flown over the adjunct districts,” Sheikh mentioned. “It’d even journey to Dhaka.”
Within the depot space, elevated air air pollution has already been noticed.
“We now have observed elevated mud particles within the air of the Sitakundu space,” Mofidul Alam, director of Chittagong Division Division of Setting, mentioned. “This mud may have some destructive influence on the bushes, crops and biodiversity of this space.”
The catastrophe mirrored the haphazard security requirements that proceed to have an effect on Bangladesh. The nation already has a devastating monitor file of commercial accidents, together with factories catching hearth with employees trapped inside.
Its deadliest hearth was in 2012, when a blaze swept via a garment manufacturing facility in Dhaka, killing 112 employees. Final yr, an enormous blaze engulfed a meals and beverage manufacturing facility, additionally within the capital, killing at the very least 52 folks.
The hearth division advised Arab Information final week that from preliminary observations, it appeared that security pointers and precautions had been probably ignored on the depot.
Mohammad Manikuzzaman, assistant director at Bangladesh Hearth Service and Civil Protection, mentioned that authorities had “solely observed a couple of hearth extinguishers contained in the depot” and nothing else associated to fireside preparedness.
Nevertheless it was not solely the preventive measures that had been missing.
Environmental scientist Sharif Jamil, who serves as secretary normal of Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon, a civic motion to guard the nation’s surroundings, mentioned that there ought to be particular zones for dealing with any kind of chemical compounds, however that such commonplace practices have been ignored — and never solely on the cargo depot.
“Most of these explosions aren’t solely inflicting deaths of human beings. The aftermath of those accidents have a long-term impact on air, soil and water,” he advised Arab Information.
“We have to put together some specific zones to deal with delicate chemical compounds with correct preparedness and monitoring by the administration. In any other case, some of these incidents would happen repeatedly.”