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Tianjin residents ask: What’s in the air?

Rescuers clean up debris where an explosion recently destroyed part of Tianjin, China. (Xinhua/Zhang Chenlin/Landov)

The massive explosion at a chemical storage facility that leveled part of Tiajin, China didn’t end when the fireball was extinguished. Residents of this port city near Beijing want to know which toxins are in the air, Liu Qin reports for Chinadialogue. Tianjin’s population is estimated at more than 14 million.

The inferno killed at least 129 people and injured hundreds more. The main worry now involves the release of highly-toxic sodium cyanide, Qin writes. It can cause breathing difficulties, among other ailments.

Residents also want to know how chemicals that are so dangerous could be housed near apartments in an urban area. So far, they haven’t received clear answers from local and government officials, the article says. The lack of disclosure has spurred China’s “netizens” to share information — including journalists’ notes — about the tragedy online.

Bao Jinling, chief engineer for the Tianjin Environmental Protection Bureau, revealed a few details during a press briefing. He acknowledged that water near the site is contaminated and that sodium cyanide was measured at up to four times the accepted level.

Source: 
Chinadialogue

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