02 December 2009 17:19 [Source: ICIS news]
TORONTO (ICIS news)--Even 25 years after the Union Carbide chemical plant catastrophe in Bhopal, India, the global chemical industry needs to continue learning its lessons, the head of Germany’s federal environmental agency Umweltbundesamt (UBA) said on Wednesday.
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Nevertheless, there was still room for further improvement, it said. Many dangerous chemicals could be phased out, or their use and storage could be minimised.
In land planning and plant permitting, further steps needed to be taken to ensure that chemical accidents involving dangerous substances did not impact residential neighbourhoods, UBA said.
Also, producers and authorities needed to work harder to ensure they had enough trained personnel to supervise and maintain plants, the agency said.
UBA also said that chemical producers in developed industrial countries, including German firms, needed to always ensure that their plants in less developed countries met European and North American safety standards.
While the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) had worked out guidelines to ensure this, it had yet to be determined if producers actually followed those guidelines, the agency said.
Lower chemical safety standards in some jurisdiction could not be allowed to translate into a competitive advantage, it added.
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