Air quality is monitored amid suspicions that the warehouse stored dangerous chemicals. (Photo by Zhu Xingxin/chinadaily.com.cn)
By 9 am on Monday, at least 114 have been killed and 70 remain missing after the blasts rocked a warehouse storing hazardous chemicals in Tianjin Binhai New Area on Wednesday, according statistics released at a press conference on Monday morning.[Special coverage]
All sodium cyanide within the 3-kilometer radius of the core blast zone will be collected and neutralized before Monday evening, said He Shushan, Tianjin deputy mayor who is in charge of work safety, at the press conference.
Containers storing several hundred tons of sodium cyanide have been located by authorities at two places, said Shi Luze, chief of staff of Beijing Military Region, on Sunday. Some of the exposed sodium cyanide from exploded containers is being controlled with hydrogen peroxide and other solutions and the intact containers will soon be collected and transported to safe places.
One of the 17 air quality monitoring stations detected hydrogen cyanide exceeding normal level by 0.08 percent on Sunday, said Bao Jingling, chief engineer of the Tianjin Environment Protection Bureau, at Monday's press conference.
An extra 27 sites to monitor water quality have also been set up to detect cyanide, said Bao.
A total of 17 wastewater discharge monitoring stations have detected cyanide, with three in precautionary area exceeding the standard. One monitoring stations recorded cyanide exceeding the level by 27.4 times, while other two saw it exceed by 4.37 times and 0.96 times respectively, said Bao.
After arriving at the scene of the explosions near Tianjin Port to direct rescue work, Premier Li Keqiang said on Sunday that a central government investigation group had been set up.
The government will investigate the incident thoroughly and punish those accountable and those who failed to perform their duties and are suspected of dereliction of duty must be investigated, said Li.
"Only in this way can we act worthily for the residents and firefighters who died in the incident," he said.