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  • ESG reacts to Fire at Indorama (ex Interquisa site) 25.06.19

    At around 3.30pm today a major fire broke out at a chemical plant very close to the Refinery. Thick black plumes of smoke were seen steadily rising from the site with social media, telephones, and text messages rapidly signalling an extraordinary situation was erupting across the border.

    As videos also came online showing aggressive flames, very close to what could have been fuel storage tanks, it became apparent that a serious emergency was underway. Fears that many of us harbour that the Refinery complex is a time bomb, that one day it could actually blow up, were not too far from our thoughts.

    It was under those circumstances of uncertainty that the march coinciding with the handing in of a petition for action on climate change action was postponed.

    The ESG was very busy for the ensuing two hours in close contact with NGOs across the border, the local media, residents and local authorities. Good news was that no reports of injuries or worse emerged.

    The reports published over how the black smoke was “contaminating but not toxic” has left the group somewhat bemused. The scale of the plume, thick with particulates, was vast and instructions were given not to inhale and remain inside. This ‘avoid if possible advice’ suggests that a common sense approach was being adopted. This is the definition of toxic and we believe it is clear this pollution was toxic to people and to the natural environment. A report from Verdemar that the warehouse was storing PTA further explains the thick black smoke which developed after fierce combustion.

    This was apparently the second fire at this plant in as many months indicating that health and safety standards are not up to scratch and given the Consejeria de Medio Ambiente has been disbanded in Andalucía, one has to wonder where accountability for such serious accidents will fall.