S. Korea probes toxic leak as impact worsens

Oct 06, 2012
South Korea on Friday launched a full inquiry into a toxic chemical leak in the southeastern city of Gumi, as officials considered designating the affected area a "disaster zone".

South Korea on Friday launched a full inquiry into a toxic chemical leak in the southeastern city of Gumi, as officials considered designating the affected area a "disaster zone".

According to , more than 600 people, including local residents and firefighters, have required treatment in the wake of the September 27 leak of hydrochloric acid at chemical maker Hube Global's factory in Gumi.

Five people were killed in an initial explosion that led to the leak as workers were unloading acid from a tanker.

But the fallout from the incident may have been far more damaging than originally thought, and a 26-member team of experts and government officials began a three-day probe Friday to gauge the severity of the situation.

"Based upon the investigation results, the government will actively consider declaring the affected region a special disaster zone," the prime minister's office said in a statement.

The hundreds treated for inhaling from the leak complained of nausea, chest pain, rashes, sore eyes and scratchy throats. Some of them found blood in their saliva.

Crops and fruit on more than 90 hectares (222.3 acres) of land have withered, and some 1,300 have been exhibiting symptoms similar to a cold, Yonhap news agency said.

"This is basically a miniature Bhopal," Kim Jeong-Soo, an environmentalist in Gumi told AFP by phone, in reference to the 1984 incident in India that claimed thousands of lives.

If designated a , residents would be eligible for financial aid, tax cuts and compensation.

Explore further: Tool kit for ocean health

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Radioactive water leaked at second Japan plant

Dec 11, 2011

A Japanese nuclear plant leaked 1.8 tonnes of radioactive water from its cooling system, the government said, heightening safety worries as an atomic crisis continues at another plant.

Total identifies source of North Sea gas leak

Mar 29, 2012

French energy giant Total said Thursday it had identified the source of a gas leak on a North Sea platform which has sparked fears of an explosion and wiped billions of euros off its market value.

Fukushima leak may have flowed into Pacific: TEPCO

Apr 05, 2012

About 12 tonnes of radioactive water has leaked at Japan's crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, with the facility's operator saying Thursday that some may have flowed into the Pacific Ocean.

Recommended for you

Tool kit for ocean health

34 minutes ago

The ocean is undergoing global changes at a remarkable pace and we must change with it to attain our best possible future ocean, warns the head of The University of Western Australia's Oceans Institute.

Researcher studies interactions between land and water

54 minutes ago

Early one morning last January, MIT undergraduate Theresa Oehmke was eating breakfast at the Kilauea Military Camp on Hawaii's Big Island when a colleague burst into the room, yelling, "Oh my god, the plume, ...

Geoengineering our climate is not a 'quick fix'

2 hours ago

The deliberate, large-scale intervention in the Earth's climate system is not a "quick fix" for global warming, according to the findings of the UK's first publicly funded studies on geoengineering.

US to propose stricter smog standard

4 hours ago

Coming full circle on a campaign promise, the Obama administration will propose Wednesday to reduce the amount of smog-forming pollution allowed in the air, which has been linked to asthma, lung damage and ...

Sao Paulo drought issue for global concern

4 hours ago

He cast his rod happily here for 30 years—but where a river once teemed with fish, Brazilian fisherman Ernane da Silva these days stares out over a valley of weeds and bone dry, sun-parched land.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.