Tianjin explosion will not affect Taiwan, says environment agency
Officials from the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said Saturday that hazardous chemicals released from deadly explosions at the port of Tianjin in mainland China will not affect Taiwan, as southwesterly winds will take any pollution away from the island.
Rumors on social media had claimed that hazardous chemicals might have reached Taiwan two days after the Aug. 12 explosions and that people should avoid rain showers because the rain could be highly contaminated.
The officials said that the EPA applied the weather tracking method of the U.S. National Oce- anic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to study the spread of pollutants after the Tianjin explosions and figured that any pollutants would move in a northeasterly direction.
Since the explosions occurred at chemical storage facilities of Ruihai Logistics, a firm specializing in handling hazardous materials, the report of a chemical plant’s storage of 700 tons of sodium cyanide there by some Chinese media have caused panic.
Asked by Chinese media about the existence of sodium cyanide at the explosion site, an official of the Tianjin city government replied that they were not clear about the situation and could not be sure if sodium cyanide was there or not.
According to media reports, however, firemen who rushed to the scene to handle 700 tons of sodium cyanide reported by a chemical plant owner found a huge crater in the ground and scattered scraps of sodium cyanide containers.
An official of Tianjin’s environmental protection office told the press that he was shocked by the report and said that either it was not true or the storage firm had violated the law, because the maximum storage volume for sodium cyanide is 10 tons, and the storage should be sealed in facilities for hazardous materials.
This image provided by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) shows southwesterly winds blowing toward mainland China. EPA officials said yesterday that hazardous chemicals released from deadly explosions at the port of Tianjin on the mainland will not affect Taiwan.