Beirut explosions: Why the deadliest blasts caused a major worry for Chennai?

While the Lebanese capital of Beirut is yet to get back to normal from the nightmare of being trampled by the back to back massive explosions that had killed at least 135 people and injured over 7,000, the sequel and the impact of the explosions had deeply worried Chennai, as apart from mourning the loses, the city was majorly concerned with what had led to the blasts in the tiny Arabic city, which sits miles away from Chennai. 

Chennai's cause of worry was a reason behind the blast in particular. The Lebanese government said that a massive explosion in Beirut was due to the 2,700 tonnes of unsafely stored ammonium nitrate in the warehouse for over six years. After witnessing the dreadful impact, serious concerns were raised in Tamil Nadu about the storage of over 700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate that has been stored in the warehouse for over many years outside Chennai. 

The storage of the explosive chemical has sparked the debate in the state asking the concerned department to dispose the explosives safely. PMK founder Dr. Ramadoss has, on Thursday, demanded safe disposal of the explosives. By citing what happened in Beirut and its impact, Ramadoss stated that there is a risk of a similar explosion and the stored explosive chemical must be disposed safely and used for the manufacture of fertilizer and other needs.

According to the reports, over 700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate has been in storage outside Chennai for several years under the custody of the Customs Department. The substance can be used in manufacturing fireworks and fertilizers and this large consignment of 700 tonnes was imported for the manufacturing of fireworks in Sivakasi. The consignment was seized at the Chennai port in 2015 and it was said to have been stored in the port. 

However, the port authorities said that the consignment has been shifted from the port a long time ago and it has now been under the control of the Customs Department. The consignment contains around 36 containers each filled with around 20 tonnes of ammonium nitrate. The reports stated that the consignment was illegally imported by the Amman Chemicals and the authorities have started to dispose them.


Seized 740 tonnes of ammonium nitrate, classified as a special category explosive substance is stored at a container freight station in Manali, Chennai. The authorities said that the consignment was warehoused under the safety precautions and further added that steps will be initiated to dispose of the explosive chemical. The Customs department had appealed to the people not to get panic as the substance is stored safely. 

The concern has emerged following the explosions in Beirut. On Tuesday evening, the Lebanese capital was turned into tears after witnessing the unprecedented back to back explosions. The reports stated that the second blast was much bigger than the first one and the second blast was linked to 2,700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate that were stored in the warehouse near the port for many years without preventive measures. 

As the explosions had smashed and shattered half of the city, it had claimed the lives of at least 135 people and injured over 7000 while 3,00,000 people have lost their homes and the government has estimated the loss worth $3 to 4 billion. The Lebanese president imposed a state of emergency and announced three days of mourning. The initial investigation has revealed that the blast had occurred due to negligence of storing the explosive chemical.

Must-read: Beirut explosions: It all happened within seconds! See how the port city went full of tears