Big dangers on our door

Big dangers on our door

A fire that erupted in the production department of a plant, which produces chemical materials in Çorlu, expanded and spread rapidly in a short period of time, causing explosions nearby.

We need to consider this fire as a serious reminder.

We have a regulation regarding big industrial accidents that can take place in our country. The regulation on “The prevention of big industrial accidents and diminishing their effects,” which came out during the accession process to the European Union is currently in force.

Yet it is not implemented.

The regulation was published in 2010 and it was said that it would be enforced within two years. It was then postponed. It was republished in Dec. 30, 2013, and then the implementation of its articles were postponed once again to 2016 and 2017.

The condition for plants to reduce risks was postponed to 2017.

Plans and preparations by the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD), Turkey’s main disaster agency, to prepare itself and to tackle these types of accidents were postponed to 2017.

The condition to provide information about the dangerous materials stored in these plants, as well as all other articles including the plans to prepare for these emergencies have all been postponed to 2016.

Due to these postponements the institution responsible for disasters does not know right now what to do with accidents that occur in the industrial sector. It will start its work in 2017. In other words we cannot even say that “it will be ready in 2017.”

Plants currently “declare” the chemical and dangerous materials they store. The Environment Ministry accepts the information provided by the owners of the plants. This gives the possibility for plants to make their declarations over smaller amounts in order to avoid from commitments.

Currently as there should be nearly 20,000 plants that should make their declaration, only 6,000 have done so, while 5,000 plants remain beyond registration. These need to be urgently inspected. The ministry does conduct inspections from time to time but does not scrutinize them within the scope of this regulation.

Baran Bozoğlu, from the Union of Chambers of two Turkish engineers and architects said the risk in Trace, Kocaeli, Adana, İzmir, in other words the region were this industry is located is huge. He said a danger bigger than the tragedy that happened at the Soma mine is knocking at our door.

He said risk analysis and reducing risks are avoided as they mean additional costs for plants and that the implementation of the regulation is delayed because of that.

He says: “AFAD is not efficient. Its level of perception is low. There is no expertize. The Environment Ministry’s personal are inefficient and the fact that they keep changing is a big problem. There are thousands of plants in Istanbul; the number of inspectors in the city does not go beyond 25. The Labor Ministry does not know the issue as well.”
In short, our safety is in the hands of God.