Viet Nam News
HẢI PHÒNG – Some residents in northern Hải Phòng City have been living in fear of the fuel stations located near their houses, causing health problems and posing deadly risks.
More than 20 households in Lê Chân District’s Vĩnh Niệm Ward sent a petition to local authorities to complain about a fuel station on Nguyễn Văn Linh Road. The station is located in a crowded residential area and in front of a small alley.
Đỗ Thị Kim, representing 22 households in the road told online newspaper Dân Việt that she did not understand why the gas station, which was next to the wall of a house, could have been licensed to operate.
The gas station brought fear for these households as they had to pass it to get in or out of the alley. In case of fires, Kim said a fire truck would struggle to reach them as the alley was too small and had only one entrance.
Vũ Hồng Dương, another resident said traffic congestion happened regularly on the road, forcing them to go through the station due to the high number of drivers waiting for fuel.
Local residents said they first reported the situation to local authorities when the gas station was built in 2013.
The People’s Committee of Lê Chân District sent an inspection team, in co-operation with Vĩnh Niệm Ward’s People’s Committee, to supervise and found violations in building the trading house, petrol pumping station and underground fuel tank of the station.
It received a fine of VNĐ20 million ($880) and was required to pause construction. But it managed to get licence from the city’s Construction Department to continue building in 2016, and resumed its operation last year.
In another residential area in Ngô Quyền District’s Lạch Tray Ward, local residents said they were bothered by the smell of petrol everyday.
Nguyễn Thị Hà, resident in Lạch Tray Ward said her family has suffered from headaches, chest pain and breathing difficulties due to the petrol nearby.
She, as well as other residents, had to keep their doors closed at all times to avoid the toxic smell.
Trần Văn Minh, resident in Lê Chân District’s Hồ Nam Ward said the fuel station in Tô Hiệu Road was like a ticking bomb and could explode anytime, threatening the lives of people there.
Local residents said that they hoped the city would soon move these gas stations out of their living places to ensure their safety.
Colonel Nguyễn Minh Khương, deputy head of the city’s Fire Prevention and Fighting Police Department told Lao Động (Labour) newspaper that all gas stations in the inner city must follow requirements on fire prevention fighting. If gas stations near residential areas fail to ensure people’s safety, they should be relocated.
Khương said currently, the department was supervising all gas stations built before 2001, and would work with the city to tackle unsafe facilities.
Regulations issued by the Ministry of Industry and Trade stipulated that the location of a petrol station must ensure traffic safety, fire prevention and fighting and environmental regulations.
A station located next to other construction works must have a wall covering it with a height of at least 2.2 metres and made from non-flammable materials. The distance between fuel tanks and pumping stations to residential areas must be 10 metres or more. — VNS