HA NOI — Gas and petrol stations located near residential areas in big cities continue to threaten locals' health and safety, despite last year's deadly gas explosions.
|A petrol station on Hoan Kiem District's Tran Hung Dao Street. Gas and petrol stations near residential areas are considered a threat to residents' safety. — VNA/VNS Photo Danh Lam
Tran Thi Hong, a resident of Ha Noi's Truong Dinh Street said her family had felt insecure ever since a gas shop opened next to their house.
"My little niece keeps worrying because of the clash of gas tankers. We're really scared that they might explode," she said.
Hong's fear is shared among many local residents who live near gas dealers. Only less than two months into the year, Ha Noi residents have witnessed four gas explosions, killing or injuring 12 people, only half of whom were in the gas shop.
In the meantime, gas shops continue opening in crowded residential areas or small alleys.
Figures from the Viet Nam Gasoline Association revealed early last month showed about 50 per cent of gas dealers failed to meet safety requirements and about 30 per cent of consumers were buying illegally-transferred gas tankers.
Lawyer Nguyen Dinh Khoe from the Ha Noi Bar Association said to Phap luat & Xa hoi (Law & Society) newspaper that the current regulation on gas trading ignored important elements of business' location. Thus, many people dodged the law by trading gas in their own house, or in residential areas, to make a profit.
Nguyen Van Son, deputy director of Ha Noi Police's Fire Prevention and Fighting Department, said city police had asked relevant authorities to review all gas dealers to make sure they met regulations, including total area of more than 12- sq.m with two doors, which must be 3m staying away from heat sources and equipped with anti-fire walls.
Any violators would be forced to close down, he said.
Residents in urban areas of Ha Noi also face a threat from petrol stations located near households, such as on Giang Vo, Tran Hung Dao and De La Thanh streets.
"Few stations meet the fire regulations. They had been built quite a long time ago and they only meet the old regulations, which have become unsuitable in the city," he said.
Son said the municipal Department of Industry and Trade had planned to move more than 50 filling stations out of residential areas by 2020 with a vision to 2030. New places would be introduced to owners of these petrol stations in the future when the city managed to arrange the land fund. — VNS