More than 200 tons of toxic sodium cyanide scattered in the core zone have been collected but those left in the containers remain to be collected, said Wang Hongjiang, deputy mayor of Tianjin who is in charge of the cleanup work.
Beijing has also announced it will begin auditing all companies that handle unsafe substances across the country, targeting industries related to chemicals, explosives, fireworks, elevators, non-coal mines, public transportation and ports.
Despite such assurances, residents of the area have expressed skepticism.
Xi presided over a meeting of the most senior members of the CPC Central Committee’s Political Bureau convened to hear a report by a team set up by the State Council, China’s cabinet, to investigate the blasts.
State media showed pictures of thousands of dead fish washed up on the shores of a river about 6 km from the blast site, though it was unclear whether there was any link to the explosions.
Chinese media reported the site of the explosions was too close to nearby homes and accused Tianjin Dongjiang Port Ruihai global Logistics, the firm whose warehouse exploded, of violating national regulations.
Deng Xiaowen, head of Tianjin’s environment monitoring center, said the agency would launch an investigation into the fish deaths.
Wastewater runoff near the site of the explosions have been found to contain hundreds of times as much sodium cyanide than is considered “safe”.
They highlighted poor information and organizational structure in the industry, slow response times and bad decision-making, and proposed a new emergency response system for accidents at China’s chemicals facilities.
On Friday, the clean-up was complicated by the outbreak of four fires on or near the disaster zone.
China has struggled in recent years with incidents ranging from mining disasters to factory fires, and president Xi Jinping vowed that authorities should learn the lessons paid for with blood.
Workers clean up burnt out cars in Tianjin, August 21.
An explosion has been reported at a chemical plant in eastern China just 10 days after a fatal blast at a port.