Mass Clean Up After China Blast Trigger Cyanide Fears

Mangled cargo containers and wreckage at the site of the Tianjin explosions.

Mangled cargo containers and wreckage at the site of the Tianjin explosions.

Mangled cargo containers and wreckage at the site of the Tianjin explosions.

Rescue personnel battled to clean up hundreds of tonnes of cyanide at the site of huge explosions in northern China on Monday. The August 12 explosions in northern China which killed 114 people at a hazardous goods storage facility in the port of Tianjin set off a giant fireball, devastated a vast area and raised fears over the impact of toxic pollutants. The company operating the site had been storing hundreds of tonnes of cyanide, reportedly nearly 30 times the allowed amount. A huge, “very complicated and difficult” clean up was underway on Monday, made harder by the presence of 16,500 shipping containers and amid fears forecast rain could release hydrogen cyanide gas, said He Shusheng, a Tianjin vice mayor. Authorities had built up sand and earth barriers around the blasts’ 0.1 square kilometre “core area” to prevent any leakage of cyanide or other pollutants, said He. Military chemical and nuclear experts have been brought in, as have experts from producers of sodium cyanide- exposure to which can be “rapidly fatal”, according to the US Centers for Disease Control. Officials said Monday the death toll from the disaster had risen to 114 with 70 people missing but cautioned that some of those could be among the 60 corpses yet to be identified.

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Chukwunonso Azinge is a Public health parasitologist whose variety of intrests ranges from international news reportage, writing articles on current world issues and of course football. Follow me on Twitter @azingelfc and on Facebook- Nonso 'King Kenny' Azinge.

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