After Beirut, Must Chennai Worry About Ammonium Nitrate Stockpile?
The Big StoryAugust 07, 2020
00:12:2011.33 MB

After Beirut, Must Chennai Worry About Ammonium Nitrate Stockpile?

A consignment of 740 tonnes of ammonium nitrate that has been lying in a Chennai customs warehouse for around five years is raising some red flags just days after Beirut's catastrophic blast.

On 4 August, an estimated 2,750-tonnes of ammonium nitrate, that had been stored reportedly for over six years in a port warehouse in Beirut, without the proper safety protocols, rocked Lebanon's capital, leading to the tragic loss of over a 100 lives and injured over 5,000 people, not including those who are feared to be still buried under the rubble.

Video footage from the scene of the explosion show a thick cloud of smoke as the blast obliterated the warehouse where the chemical was stored, destroyed entire districts in the capital, and flattened buildings leaving a crater approximately 140 metres wide.

And that's what's raising the alarms about the ammonium nitrate stockpile near Chennai, a city home to around 70 lakh people. In a tweet on 6 August, PMK leader S Ramadoss said, "There is a risk of a similar explosion due to ammonium nitrate in the Chennai warehouse. To prevent this, the ammonium nitrate should be safely disposed of and used for other purposes such as composting!"

What can cause ammonium nitrate explosions? Are there any reasons for Chennai to be alarmed? Tune in to The Big Story!

Producer and Host: Shorbori Purkayastha
Editor: Shelly Walia
Reporting: Smitha TK

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

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