On the night of August 24, 300 metric tonnes of ammonia gas spread out over the port city of Chittagong after a 500 tonne gas tank at the Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC) DAP-1 fertiliser plant exploded.
At least 200 people needed medical treatment after inhaling the gas, local officials said on August 25.
The plant has two di-ammonia phosphate (DAP) facilities and the second was not affected. The Chittagong Fire Service told bdnews24.com: “A major accident has been averted. Ten Fire Service units are working. They have brought the air pollution back to tolerable level.”
Earlier, hundreds of workers from nearby factories were ordered to leave their premises and hundreds of residents were evacuated from their homes to avoid the gas cloud. None of those affected was in a serious condition, hospital sources said.
BCIC Chairman Mohammad Iqbal told journalists that ammonia in the air had dropped to 20 PPM 200 metres from the plant, against a ‘tolerable limit’ of 100 PPM. He said that a committee had been formed to find the causes of the incident.