Explosive situation

THERE are serious lessons to be learnt from the recent explosion in Sharjah caused by leaking gas cylinders, lessons that could make the difference between life and death.


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Published: Sun 22 May 2005, 11:05 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 8:29 PM

There is tendency by landlords in the emirates to lease the ground floor to restaurants who consume anywhere between six-ten cylinders every 15 days. Besides restaurants becoming a breeding ground for cockroaches and ants, the inherent risk of exposing residents of the building and the surrounding ones to a gas leak that could result in a blast — like the one that ripped through the China Garden Restaurant last week — is very real.

A law banning restaurants, hole-in-the-wall cafeterias and stand alone shawarma stalls from residential buildings should be given serious thought. Almost every building has one or two and the worst effected are the ones where sweetmeats are made and no matter how strict the standards of cleanliness are, sweets oozing sugar draw ants, cockroaches and other pests and before you can blink an eyelid, they are crawling up the drainpipes of the building and making themselves at home in the kitchen.

The loading and unloading of these gas cylinders is another neglected aspect. Many of them do not even take the basic precaution of attaching rubber rings at the base of the cylinder. Besides the the loud clanging noise the cylinders make while being roughly taken down from the vans and shattering the peace of the early morning, the probability that the friction caused when the cylinder slams the ground resulting in a spark that could ignite the gas cannot be ruled out. In the rush to load and unload, these basic precautions are often overlooked by the workers and nobody objects till it’s too late and a ‘big bang’ takes place.

Must we wait for another explosion before we act?

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