Environmental Health & Safety

China Racks Up 29 Chemical Accidents Per Month

By Chemical Processing Staff

Sep 30, 2016

Some 232 chemical-related accidents occurred in China from January to August 2016, an average of 29 per month, according to Greenpeace East Asia’s “China Chemical Accidents Counter.” The accidents reportedly caused 199 deaths and 400 injuries. In addition, preliminary findings from Greenpeace East Asia’s chemicals industry distribution mapping shows a correlation of facility location and population density, as well as proximity to ecologically sensitive areas. The organization calls on the Chinese government to radically overhaul the current chemicals management system and introduce greater transparency.

“China's chemicals industry is the largest in the world, but it is appallingly under-regulated,” says Greenpeace East Asia Toxics Assistant Manager Cheng Qian. “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.”

Greenpeace East Asia’s Accident Counter compiles publicly available information on chemical accidents from the official websites of the State Administration of Work Safety and the China Chemical Safety Association, supplemented by monitoring of news sources. The data is not exhaustive and it is more than likely that more accidents than those recorded in the above sources have occurred, according to Greenpeace.

Analysis of the data set shows that 43% of accidents occur due to leaks, while fire and explosions account for 27% and 16% of accidents, respectively, according to Greenpeace. The data also shows that 52% of accidents occur during transportation of chemicals, while 27% occur during production. Using GIS mapping technology and the latest available data on 33,625 chemical facilities, Greenpeace can also show that the majority of chemical facilities in China are concentrated in the densely populated east. The mapping reportedly shows that nearly 84% of facilities are located outside of State Council’s 60 designated “priority counties for safety production management.” Nearly 18% of facilities are located in core ecological space, according to Greenpeace.

For more information, visit: www.greenpeace.org