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Fertiliser manufacturers face increased scrutiny

Update: October, 23/2014 - 09:32
After an explosion at Dang Huynh fertiliser company killed three people last Friday in HCM City's District 2, the initial investigation revealed that the chemical substances that the company used to produce fertiliser were also explosive precursors. — Photo Vnexpress

HA NOI (VNS) — Fertiliser manufacturers must meet 14 criteria in order to get permission to operate, said Nguyen Van Thanh, director of the Department of Chemicals under the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

After an explosion at Dang Huynh fertiliser company killed three people last Friday in HCM City's District 2, the initial investigation revealed that the chemical substances that the company used to produce fertiliser were also explosive precursors.

The lack of control over fertiliser manufacturing was alarming, Nguyen Kim Lien, deputy director of the department, told the Nong thon ngay nay (Countryside Today) newspaper.

Nguyen Loc An, deputy director of the Department of Domestic Market, said that there were not enough regulations governing fertiliser manufacture and trading.

The country has more than 500 fertiliser manufacturing enterprises and thousands of trading enterprises, both large and small. However, the lack of detailed regulations made it difficult for state agencies to manage them.

To address this problem, the Government issued Decree 202 about managing fertiliser. The Ministry of Industry and Trade also issued Circular 29, which provides guidance about implementing the decree.

Nguyen Van Thanh, director of the Department of Chemicals, said that the circular would provide a legal means to crack down on fake fertiliser manufacturing and trading. Fertiliser quality and manufacturing conditions should be inspected thoroughly, he added.

Some enterprises put substandard fertiliser in containers bearing the logos of prestigious firms, a trick that could cause losses of US$2 billion per year, said deputy chairman of the Fertiliser Association of Viet Nam Nguyen Hac Thuy.

The HCM City police plan to expand their investigation of the explosion on Friday after receiving the preliminary investigation report from the city firefighters.

The company reportedly stored 320kg of potassium nitrate, 25kg of potassium chlorate and some drums containing calcium, sulfur and magnesium solutions at the workshop before the explosion took place.

Deadly fires

The city's Fire Prevention Department has blamed the poor management of chemical companies for four major fires that occurred in HCM City this year, leaving seven people dead and six injured.

The most recent fire, in which three people died, occurred in the city's District 12 at the Dang Huynh Production and Trade Limited Company, which trades in chemicals.

Le Hoang Quan, chairman of HCM City's People's Committee, has asked city departments to compile a list of enterprises that produce and trade chemicals. In the future, these companies will be moved out of residential areas.

Tran Thanh Chau, deputy director of the department, said that 140 chemical companies were located in residential areas. Of that number, 51 stores are in the Kim Bien chemical market in District 5.

Some of the companies in Kim Bien market sell chemicals used in dynamite, which are on the list of prohibited chemicals in the country.

Phan Anh Minh, deputy director of HCM City Public Security, said the management of the chemical trade had been poor.

Statistics released from HCM City Public Security said over the past two years the city police had inspected 74 enterprises, and of that number, 53 were fined for committing violations.

Total losses of the four fires were estimated at VND34 billion (US$1.6 million). — VNS

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