Kaohsiung mayor reserved on 'petrochemical zone'

Kaohsiung mayor reserved on 'petrochemical zone'
Rescue personnel survey the wreckage after an explosion in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan, August 1, 2014. The explosion caused by a gas leak in Taiwan's second city killed 22 people, injured 270 and sent flames shooting 15 storeys into the air, a government agency said.

Whether or not a specialised petrochemical zone should be set up in Kaohsiung is something that needs to be discussed with the citizens of Kaohsiung, the city's mayor, Chen Chu, said yesterday.

Between late July 31 and early Aug. 1, a series of gas explosions ripped apart several streets in Kaohsiung, resulting in 30 people dead and more than 300 injured. Chen attended a funeral of one of the victims yesterday and expressed her condolences.

Chen told reporters that Kaohsiung will conduct an assessment of its petrochemical pipelines and the safety risks they pose, adding that her city will continue to work with the central government.

The Cabinet is currently considering a proposal to demarcate a petrochemical zone in Kaohsiung to avoid having pipelines running through populous areas. The project would relocate existing petrochemical facilities, which are scattered throughout the city, to a designated area. According to local reports, the central government is considering reclaiming 400 hectares of land off the coast of Kaohsiung to construct the zone.

When asked, Chen gave a reserved response, saying that the subject needs to be discussed with the citizens of Kaohsiung.

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