KARACHI: Commissioner Karachi Iftikhar Shallwani has imposed a ban on storing ammonium nitrate, a chemical that caused a devastating explosion in Lebanon, without the prior information of the authorities, ARY NEWS reported.
According to a notification issued on Saturday, the commissioner Karachi directed all the industrial associations in the city to provide details of the ammonium nitrate and other dual-use precursor chemicals available in the port areas and industrial zones of the city.
The industrialists importing the chemicals are directed to provide prior information to the authorities.
It is pertinent to mention here that the fresh directives were issued after an explosion at the storage facility of ammonium nitrate caused an unprecedented explosion in Beirut, causing deaths of at least 115 people and wounding over 5000 people besides badly damaging the infrastructure in the city.
According to a story carried by AFP, for at least six years, hundreds of tonnes of ammonium nitrate, which Lebanese authorities say caused Tuesday’s massive blast, were negligently stored in a Beirut port warehouse, waiting for disaster to strike.
The odourless crystalline substance commonly used as a fertiliser has caused numerous industrial explosions over the decades — including the massive one in Beirut that killed at least 113 people, wounded thousands, and left 300,000 homeless.
A security source said the explosive power of the stored ammonium nitrate was equivalent to at least 1,200 tonnes of TNT — explaining how the earthquake-strength blast destroyed or damaged so much of the city.
Lebanese port authorities and customs officials knew the chemical was being stored in the port, and one of the country’s top security agencies had called for it to be relocated after launching a probe last year, several security officials told AFP.
But authorities did not heed the warning.
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