Officials in the northeastern Chinese city of Tianjin have decided to relocate 10 chemical plants, months after a fatal chemical accident killed 173 people in August 2015, state media reported Sunday. Shan Yuhou, head of the Work Safety Bureau of Binhai New Area in Tianjin, said that no chemical projects will be approved in the city outside the Nangang Industrial Zone.
Shan said Sunday that 583 chemical plants were reviewed and 85 of those had safety issues, Xinhua News reported. Nine of the 85 plants have resolved the problems and 10 have chosen to relocate, Shan said, according to the report.
After the August and October 2015 explosions, certain plants were ordered to move to Nangang, which is over 18 miles from the accident site, and 6 miles from the closest residential area, Xinhua reported.
An official of the bureau told the Associated Press that 75 of the remaining chemical plants with safety issues were not located near residential areas but will also be ultimately moved 19 miles south under a new plan to segregate chemical-related firms at the Nangang industrial zone.
Last November, Zheng Qingyue, the president of Tianjin Port Group, where the August blast occurred, was fired and will be prosecuted for dereliction of duty. Criminal proceedings are ongoing against Zheng’s assistant Li Hongfeng, and the deputy chief of the firm's safety bureau, Zheng Shuguo, for dereliction of duty. An investigation by the Chinese government into the blast concluded that the port’s management had ignored many safety oversight duties.
After the August explosion, another blast hit a warehouse at Tianjin in October. Authorities had arrested two people for illegally using the warehouse to store chemicals.