Nine people killed in China waste blaze

Nine people have been killed by a fire at a waste processing plant in China, with authorities believing the blaze was started by fireworks residue.

State news agency Xinhua said that the fire broke out in the early hours of Saturday (17 February) morning in Qingyuan city in the province of Guangdong in the south of the country.

The agency said that an explosion occurred as three workers tried to put out the fire, which then caused an explosion which killed six more people nearby, a mix of workers on the site and family members who lived in makeshift rooms on the second floor of the facility.

The fire spread quickly and the victims were unable to escape through the heavy smoke.

The fire has now been extinguished and following an investigation several suspects have been arrested in connection with the fire, while a survivor with serious burns was taken to hospital.

Police believe that the fire was caused by fireworks residue. A week of celebration to mark the Chinese New Year, during which fireworks are traditionally let off had just started when the fire began.

Over the past few years the Chinese Government has taken steps to begin overhauling its environmental performances, with several waste measures being implemented in 2017. As well as the high-profile restrictions on foreign waste, which came into effect at the beginning of January and could cause chaos throughout the global recycling sector, the government announced plans to invest around £29 billion in improving waste management across the country between 2017 and 2020.   

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