MP Warns Zanganeh About Petrochem Pollution

MP Warns Zanganeh About Petrochem Pollution  MP Warns Zanganeh About Petrochem Pollution

In an open letter to Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, a member of parliament warned about the environmental hazards of a fire incident at a petrochemical complex in southern Iran and its grave implications on the lives of residents.

On Sept. 14, a fire broke out at Mobin Petrochemical Complex in the southern city of Asalouyeh, Bushehr Province. It was reportedly doused "within hours" and had no fatalities, but it spread a huge pall of smoke over the site of the complex which is not far from the nearest residential quarters.

In the letter published on Sunday, Sakineh Almasi, representative of Kangan, Jam, Dayyer and Asalouyeh counties in the Majlis, called on the oil minister to address the problem which has turned into a major concern, IRNA reported.

"The severe pollution in Asalouyeh caused by the emission of black smoke from Mobin Petrochemical Complex not only has damaged national assets, but created serious concern among the locals," Almasi said. Pictures of the incident and its surroundings show the heavy smog has thinned but black smoke still comes out of the complex's flares.

"Why can't we contain the pollution four days after the incident and leave the people with fear and agitation?" said the lawmaker, questioning the competence of relevant bodies in dealing with similar incidents in  future.

However, officials have played down the environmental risks of a string of incidents in the petroleum industry over the past few weeks. On July 6, a massive fire broke out in Bouali Sina Petrochemical Complex in the southern oil-rich province of Khuzestan in what was described as the largest incident in the oil and gas industry in recent times.

Firefighters extinguished the huge fire after three days of arduous battle with the blaze. There were no fatalities but nine injuries were reported. A few weeks later, fire erupted at the Bistoon Petrochemical Company in Kermanshah Province but had no fatalities.

According to Zanganeh, both fires broke out because the "privatized petrochemical companies have cut funds for health and safety inspections." He has also strongly rejected claims that the incidents were coordinated by terror outfits. Ziaeddin Almasi, director of Marine Pollution Office at the Department of Environment, said last month that he hopes the recent petrochemical incidents "serve as a wakeup call for those in charge to enhance funding and increase manpower for their HSE departments.”