The explosion that devastated Beirut, Lebanon’s capital, last Tuesday has set off all the alarms in ports around the world. The one in Valencia was no less. The neighbors who live closest to it, those of Nazarethyesterday demanded information about the special accident prevention plan that was promised in 2011 and to know what kind hazardous materials work is being carried out inside one of the most important ports in the Mediterranean.
“In view of the catastrophe caused by the explosion in the port of Beirut the Natzaret Veterinary Association expresses its concern about the danger of serious accidents at the southern access to the port of Valencia built on Natzaret beach and La Punta. The whole of the transport of dangerous goods by road and rail that enter or leave the port facilities,” said yesterday the spokesman of the entity, Julio Moltó, in a statement.
The neighborhood leader recalled that a 2011 Council decree approved the Special Plan for the Risk of Accidents in the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road and Rail. “In the nine years that the decree has been in force we are not aware of any dissemination among the population of the Action Plan for possible accidents as set out in the aforementioned decree,” lamented Moltó. “We understand that we are included in a high-risk area because of the southern access road to the port that runs next to Pinedo, la Punta, Natzaret, la Marina, el Grau and Canyamelar-Cabanyal,” he said.
Moltó asked the municipal and regional authorities yesterday if the city has a municipal territorial plan or plan of action to deal with the risk of accidents. “Has it been disclosed to the potentially affected population the prevention plan for possible accidents in the transport of dangerous goods by land to the port of Valencia,” questioned Moltó, who said neighbors don’t know what they should do in the face of a toxic cloud confinement if there is a spill from any of the trucks entering the port or what escape routes they have in the neighbourhood. “We don’t want to be alarmed but we have to consider a situation that those of us who live near a dangerous area live with,” said the spokesman for the neighbourhood organisation, which did say that they are aware that the port of Valencia “is infinitely better managed than Beirut“where a freighter with nearly 3,000 tons of highly volatile ammonium nitrate remained for years at anchor next to a fireworks factory.
The decree referred to by the neighbours states: “During the implementation phase and especially the maintenance phase of the operation, a information policy with a view to disseminating the Plan among the population, in order to make it easier for them to become familiar with the measures envisaged”. In addition, they recall that it is catalogued as high risk “Those municipalities that have, within a band of 500 meters residential use“and as special exhibition areas “areas frequented by the public that are less than 500 metres away” from roads such as those that enter the port next to the Nazareth district.