Tuesday, May 21, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

A flagrant disregard for public safety

Chemicals are kept in warehouses and residential buildings in utterly risky conditions

Update : 06 Mar 2024, 10:21 AM

The government’s decision from last year to relocate chemical warehouses away from the capital's Old Dhaka area seems to have resulted in little visible progress, as the practice of storing dangerous chemicals in residential areas seems alive and well.

Despite knowing full well the dangers of storing volatile chemicals in densely populated residential areas, chemical traders are completely unwilling to move their business elsewhere, coupled with the government’s inability to stick to its own plans the possibilities of another disaster such as the one we witnessed in Nimtoli back in 2010, which saw a death toll of 124, seem much higher than ever.

What’s more, according to a recent Dhaka Tribune report, investigations have revealed that the chemicals are kept in warehouses and residential buildings in utterly risky conditions. A study by Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon further sheds light on how the overwhelming majority of these chemical depots are operating without the necessary permits -- there are approximately 25,000 chemical product warehouses in Old Dhaka with at least 15,000 of them being situated in residential buildings. The Dhaka South City Corporation has reportedly handed trade licences to only 2,500 warehouses, which means that the rest are completely illegal in nature.

If these reports are found to be true, there is absolutely no excuse for the administration to keep itself from mobilizing against these illegal chemical traders.

It is no big secret that our capital, indeed most of our major cities, leave a lot to be desired when it comes to ensuring the safety and security of its citizens. But there is a stark difference between administrative mishaps which are the result of a city that is perpetually being developed and sheer apathy towards the safety of the public -- allowing dangerous chemicals to be stored in residential areas can be easily classified as the latter.

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