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April 13, 2011

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Home » Metro » Environment

Sinopec plant fined maximum 200,000 yuan for big gas leak

SINOPEC Shanghai Gaoqiao Petrochemical Corp was fined 200,000 yuan (US$30,581) for causing last month's gas leak that affected many parts of the city, the local environment watchdog said yesterday.

The fine is the maximum allowed under the law, officials said.

Authorities will set up a supervision network around industrial zones like Gaoqiao in the Pudong New Area and Caojing in Jinshan District by the end of this year so that the leaks can be located quickly, said Zhang Quan, director of the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau.

Equipment will be installed inside and near the industrial zones and officials said they will place a priority on detecting poisonous substances or ones that cause foul smells.

At present, the city's air quality monitoring system only checks for sulfide dioxide and nitrogen dioxide.

The hydrogen sulfide leak from Sinopec Shanghai Gaoqiao Petrochemical Corp in Pudong on March 20 created widespread alarm among nearby residents. Many complained about the bad smell and the government's slow response. It took more than 10 hours to locate the source.

The plant was also fined 200,000 yuan last year for releasing toxic gas.

"There are a lot of chemical substances leading to foul smells around chemical plants and their spread is also closely related with the meteorological situation," Zhang said.

"To improve supervision, we decided to follow the routine practice in developed countries by setting up supervision networks around chemical parks. Chemical plants are also required to enhance their own supervision and report to the government whenever detecting a leak or other accident," Zhang said yesterday.

Environment bureau officials said some chemical plants and zones have already installed similar facilities to monitor the air for chemical leaks. The government plans to include this information in its monitoring system.

However, officials said the equipment will not be able to check the air for all harmful chemical substances.


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