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Lost Chongqing BASF Chongqing MDI project is suspected of illegal construction

lost Chongqing BASF Chongqing MDI project is suspected of illegal construction

October 24, 2011

[China paint information] known as "the initiator, practitioner and advocate of care action", BASF is experiencing an unprecedented crisis

on October 20, a person from the State Administration of work safety told this newspaper: "BASF Chongqing MDI project is suspected of illegal construction."

"according to the normal procedure, large-scale chemical projects like BASF must be reported to the State Council after being approved by the national development and Reform Commission, as well as the three links of environmental impact assessment and safety assessment. They can only be constructed after being approved by the State Council, but at present, the state Council has not given instructions on this." The above-mentioned person from the State Administration of work safety told this newspaper

previously, the supporting project of BASF Chongqing MDI had been broken ground on August 29th, 2008 without the approval of the relevant regulatory authorities

on June 12, 2007, on the 10th anniversary of the establishment of Chongqing municipality directly under the central government, the Chongqing municipal government signed a memorandum of cooperation with BASF, a German chemical giant, to build MDI (diphenylmethane diisocyanate) plants locally. This project with an investment of 8 billion yuan and an annual output of 400000 tons of MDI is also the largest foreign-funded project ever accepted by Chongqing

because the project is located in Changshou chemical park at the end of the Three Gorges Reservoir area, and a large number of highly toxic substances such as nitrobenzene and phosgene will be produced or used in the manufacturing process of MDI. For a time, the dispute about whether this large-scale and high-risk chemical project will pollute the ecological environment of the Three Gorges Reservoir area and affect the entire middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River and the receiving area of the South-to-North Water Transfer Project has also become increasingly noisy. Some domestic environmentalists vividly liken it to a "time bomb on the Three Gorges celestial cover"

BASF's environmental threat is not groundless. On the afternoon of September 28 this year, an unidentified yellow smoke appeared in the Shanghai chemical industry zone. At 17:56, BASF officials confirmed that the nitrous oxide leakage occurred in its company's nitrous smoke absorption tower located in Caojing Shanghai Chemical Industry Zone, Jinshan District, with a total of about 2 kg of nitrous oxide leakage

on October 20, tianlijun, senior manager of BASF (China) Co., Ltd., can be proved from the initial wear of passive bearings. It is also confirmed to this newspaper that BASF's factory in Chongqing has indeed been put into construction in April this year. However, she did not respond to the suspected violation

Ma Jun, director of NGO public environment research center, said: "as a world leading chemical enterprise, BASF's technology and concept in environmental protection are worthy of recognition, but the characteristics of chemical projects still determine that there are certain potential safety hazards in this field."

site selection: the Three Gorges is unbearable

the time goes back one year. About 1300 villagers located in Baishi Village, Yanjia Town, Changshou District, Chongqing have to become another batch of heavy chemical immigrants after the migration tide of the Three Gorges because of the arrival of BASF

although these villagers moved away from their original villages and were all resettled into the city, some people still don't know why. BASF, the world's top 500 enterprise, has set off an industrial frenzy, which has become the only reason for them to bid farewell to their hometown

"until today, I still don't understand why BASF chose to build a factory in Chongqing?" Zhang Kai, director of Greenpeace's pollution prevention and control project, who has participated in field research and evidence collection for many times, said in an interview with this newspaper, which is far more than other enterprises in the industry

there are still many skeptics who hold the same question. The above-mentioned person from the State Administration of work safety told this newspaper that chemical projects need a lot of water resources, and generally, for environmental considerations, most chemical plants will choose to build plants in the lower reaches of the river, and few people like BASF will "camp" in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River

BASF's Chongqing project mainly produces MDI, which is the main raw material of polyurethane. Polyurethane is widely used in construction, household appliances, transportation, footwear and other industries. Previously, BASF has built an MDI production plant in Shanghai. This time, BASF has its own view on the location of Chongqing

Bo mule, the director of BASF in charge of Asia Pacific business, predicted in a media interview that the annual growth rate of MDI demand in China would be close to 9% in the future

BASF said that there is a huge demand for MDI related products in China, especially in the rapidly developing inland areas. Chongqing has the ideal conditions for the construction of this project, especially with the support of the "western development" policy, Chongqing is becoming the gateway city of the surrounding five provinces and the economic, industrial and logistics hub of the region. The location of Chongqing will not only enable us to enter the rapidly growing inland market, but also enter other regions of China with its increasingly improved roads, railways and existing water transportation networks

with regard to the causes and consequences of the decision to settle the MDI project in Chongqing, BASF (China) Co., Ltd. specially made a special page on its official website, from explaining what MDI is to what measures BASF will take to improve the level of environmental protection, health and safety of its factories

however, in response to BASF's statement, a number of industry insiders interviewed by this newspaper and insiders of the regulatory department raised questions about the establishment of the project

"China has a special plan for chemical production. At present, several major chemical zones in Chongqing have become saturated, and the local ecological environment is also quite fragile. If such a large-scale factory is built, the hidden dangers of three-dimensional pollution in air, water, land and other aspects will undoubtedly be more serious." State Administration of work safety said

"this project is open to discussion from the beginning. From the long-term plan, BASF, as a competitive enterprise in the international market, is bound to attract a large number of raw material suppliers in the industrial chain to come here after setting up a factory in Chongqing." Ma Jun said, "the potential safety hazards caused by this agglomeration effect in the chemical industry cannot be underestimated."

Chen Jin, vice president of the Yangtze River academy of Sciences of the Yangtze River Commission, expressed concern about the growing upsurge of heavy chemical investment in the middle and upper reaches of the Yangtze River. Industrial hidden dangers and water pollution in the reservoir area are the biggest crisis that Chongqing and even the entire middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River must face

"the construction of such a large chemical enterprise in the Three Gorges Reservoir area, although designed to meet the emission standards, will undoubtedly increase environmental risks." Chen Jin said

it is understood that there is no precedent in the world for building large-scale chemical plants near large reservoirs such as the Three Gorges

in addition to the possible pollution factors to the environment, BASF's statement that the establishment of a factory in Chongqing is optimistic about the market potential has also been questioned by insiders

the manager of a domestic factory said that the MDI market in the southwest region is almost negligible. From a regional perspective, the total MDI demand in the southwest provinces may be less than 5% of the national consumption

"although MDI itself is not toxic, its raw materials and intermediate products contain highly toxic, which will have unimaginable consequences in case of leakage during transportation." Zhang Kai said

insiders introduced to this newspaper that MDI needs a lot of phosgene and benzene synthesis production in the manufacturing process. Phosgene mainly comes from natural gas, while benzene is a petrochemical product, both of which are the most harmful

according to the data, in 2005, the nitrobenzene distillation tower of Jilin Petrochemical aniline plant exploded, causing 8 deaths, and a large amount of benzene pollution flowed into the Songhua River, resulting in a four-day water cut-off in Harbin. In 2008, phosgene leakage also occurred in Qiqihar, causing three deaths

it is learned that in addition to Changshou chemical industry park, where BASF MDI project is located, Chongqing also has several major chemical enterprises gathering places, including Baitao chemical industry park, Fuling Longqiao Industrial Park, Wanzhou salt and gas chemical industry park. Besides BASF, chemical giants such as PetroChina and Chongqing Iron and Steel Group will also settle in the Three Gorges Reservoir area

ambiguous: BASF secretly takes advantage of the situation

as a global chemical giant, BASF is proud that they were the winners of the corporate social contribution award and are committed to environmental protection and integrated production mode. However, in the Chongqing MDI project, which is still under construction and has not yet carried out large-scale infrastructure construction, BASF's previous commitment to environmental protection seems to suddenly become ambiguous

a local insider close to the Chongqing development and Reform Commission told this newspaper that after the project construction was approved by the development and Reform Commission, the local government and environmental protection organizations have repeatedly asked BASF to start an investigation on the local ecological environment. Detailed records show that the main cost now lies in the longevity of materials. But half a year later, BASF has not replied whether it will conduct an investigation

"the government believes that as long as the production is orderly according to scientific management methods, it should be able to achieve a win-win situation of economic benefits and environmental protection. However, in order to better supervise, it is hoped that BASF can make an investigation on the ecology before the project is put into operation and make a comparison with the environment after the project is put into operation. Only through comparison can we find out whether there are problems." The person familiar with the matter said

however, it is such a requirement that BASF extremely kisses the "environmental protection concept" touted by BASF to reduce downtime, but BASF still has no definite answer six months after obtaining the approval of the national development and Reform Commission

"(BASF) did not say yes, nor did he say no. many government officials now avoid talking about this project." The person familiar with the matter said

in fact, BASF's ambiguity is not only here

Ma Jun revealed to this newspaper that in the previous positive communication with BASF, BASF had proposed a plan called "green industrial chain", that is, strictly control the environmental protection qualifications of the company's raw material suppliers and product sellers, so as to minimize the possible environmental pollution and safety hazards in the whole industrial chain

"during the communication, we found that there are many defects and loopholes in the green industrial chain proposed by BASF. So far, we have not seen a specific facility plan." Ma Jun said

in response to the doubts of the outside world, Tian Lijun, senior economist of BASF (China), clarified in an interview with this newspaper that BASF has always adhered to this principle, while Tian Lijun said that she had not heard of the "green industrial chain plan"

"we did, but we may not call it that name." Tian Lijun said

related facts also include BASF's disclosure of pollution emission information in China. In 2008, when BASF proposed to build a factory in Chongqing, many domestic environmental protection organizations, including Greenpeace, raised objections, saying that BASF failed to directly disclose its detailed pollutant emission information to the public through the official website, and accused BASF of implementing double standards in China

BASF denied these accusations. Zhang Kai, the director of Greenpeace's pollution prevention and control project, who has participated in communication for many times, told this newspaper: "BASF will directly publish emission information in the United States, Germany and other countries, while all 15 wholly-owned and joint venture production enterprises in China have not complied with this law."

"after sampling BASF Applied Chemical Co., Ltd. in 2008, we found that the content of chlorobenzene exceeded the standard by more than 100 times. Then we communicated with BASF for many times, but the other party refused to provide key information such as the location of the sewage outlet, the type and quantity of pollutants discharged." Zhang Kai said

subsequently, Greenpeace launched a new round of activities in Pudong New Area

Copyright © 2011 JIN SHI