Jeddah gas factory at Kilo 14: An accident waiting to happen
Residents of Jeddah’s Kilo 14 neighborhood are suffering from the presence of a gas factory for three decades. The factory has been causing many health problems to the residents as it emits foul smell.
Mohammad Al-Qarni, a resident of Kilo 14, said: “We live in a state of constant fear, especially when we recall explosions caused by gas in the past. We remember the catastrophes connected with them, such as the explosion of a gas pipe in a traditional restaurant in the university neighborhood, which killed 71 people. An accident in the Al-Wazeriya neighborhood resulted in injuries to 42 people, while an explosion in a gas tank in Riyadh caused damages to people and property.”
He hoped officials would take a decision to move the factory far away from the residential areas. They should take quick action before a tragedy takes place.
The Civil Defense Directorate recommended the movement of two schools next to the factory. Residents said this was a sound decision and called on the authorities concerned to relocate the factory far away from the neighborhood. The presence of the factory only a few meters from residential places is detrimental to the safety of people in the area.
According to Ahmad Alfayez, another resident, people in the area have been suffering from the gas leaking from the factory. They live in constant danger of fire due to the gas that might turn the whole neighborhood into a fireball.
“We demanded the removal of this factory but no one seemed to listen to us, as if this matter doesn’t pose any threat to the lives of more than 10,000 people,” he said.
Khalid Aljahni said that residents of the neighborhood suffer from the gas emission that seems to increase at night and in the early hours of the morning.
The factory has hundreds of gas tanks. People with asthma always get bouts of breathing difficulty because of the polluted surroundings.
A number of residents called on the Makkah governorate to look into the factory issue and come up with quick solutions for the safety of the residents.
The company that supervises the factory said in an earlier statement that when the factory was established the area was outside residential areas, but over time urbanization crept in and now houses surround the factory.
The company said that it is necessary to prevent buildings from springing up around the factory. It called on relevant authorities to appreciate its position and support its cause by allowing the factory to remain at its current location “because the transfer process will cost the company a lot.”
“The company is in a difficult financial situation and totally committed to safety requirements,” it said.