Dammam exposed to 10 high-risk factories

A man breathes through an oxygen mask after what activists said was a chlorine gas attack on Kansafra village at Idlib, Syria.

A man breathes through an oxygen mask after what activists said was a chlorine gas attack on Kansafra village at Idlib, Syria.

The First Industrial Zone in Dammam has seen several incidents involving gas leaks and chemical fires recently, resulting in casualties among factory workers.

A factory worker died and two were injured after chemicals leaked from a 5,000-liter tank at a waste recycling factory during maintenance operations recently.

These accidents have resulted in many families calling on the government to force these factories to move their operations away from residential areas. The government has agreed, and a special committee with representatives from several organizations has been formed to oversee the transfer.

Reports have revealed that 16 residential neighborhoods in Dammam are currently exposed to possible dangers from 10 high-risk factories.

Mohammed Abdullah, a resident of one of these neighborhoods, said a leak of nitrogen, hydrogen and epoxy from a factory in the First Industrial Zone several years ago led to the evacuation of the entire area surrounding the factory, including all schools and homes, causing great inconvenience to families until the situation was brought under control.

Citizens Ali Al-Fadani and Mohammed Al-Qahtani had experiences with similar incidents in Dammam, and called on the government committee to also look into the transfer of other factories over a period of time.

Saleh Mohammed Al-Aqari, a citizen, said exposure to epoxy gas, which leaked from a factory in Dammam several years ago, can lead to significant eye and skin problems and respiratory damage. He said chances of poisoning are increased with close contract, noting that many factories in the area use epoxy gas extensively.

Following reports received by the Civil Defense in the Eastern Province previously regarding a gas leakage in the First Industrial Zone, devices used to read poisonous gas levels recorded them at 70 percent inside the factory and 12 percent in the surrounding area.

While no injuries occurred during that incident, another one led to the death of a resident and injuries to two others due to exposure and contact with hazardous materials, said spokesman for Civil Defense in the Eastern Province Col. Mansour Al-Dosari.


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