Petrol stations to be shifted away from residential areas

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The Civil Defense plans to remove 2,500 petrol stations from various Jeddah neighborhoods because residents complain they are fire and health hazards.

Col. Saeed Sarhan, spokesman of the Civil Defense in Makkah, said a committee comprising representatives from the directorate, the Jeddah and Makkah municipalities, and fire specialists are studying the issue before a decision is taken.

Sarhan told Arab News that many of the stations might be moved to Asafan. The directorate has already warned more than 100 stations in Jeddah, and slapped SR5,000 fines and 24-hour closures on 90 others for violating safety regulations.

Residents in Jeddah have demanded that the Civil Defense remove the stations because they violate international safety and security standards.

They said the licensing procedures for petrol stations are more than 50 years old. Rapid urbanization had resulted in the stations being incorporated into local neighborhoods, they said.

Talib Al-Freij, a resident, said the municipality, Civil Defense and the area’s governorate should intervene and stop issuing permits for petrol stations in residential areas in Jeddah.

Some of these stations are close to schools and frequented by drivers. There were also poor safety measures at many of these stations including a lack of covers for petrol tanks and no fire extinguishers.

An additional problem is that these stations are not closed when they are refilled with petrol, turning them into “time bombs,” Al-Freij said.

Mohammad Al-Inizi, another resident, said the petrol stations could cause serious health problems for people including increasing their chances of getting leukemia.

He said it was government’s responsibility to remove the stations from local neighborhoods because they deal with dangerous, highly flammable substances.

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