Last weekend, a container holding 25 tons of chlorine gas was being shipped from Aqaba in Jordan to Djibouti when it fell from a crane to the deck of a ship during loading.
The body count is up to 12, last I heard, with hundreds more injured by the gas and in the chaos that resulted from its release.
This video is particularly scary when one recalls that tanker trucks and rail trucks containing chlorine gas are routinely encountered across America. One accident in the wrong place - say, a railway shunting yard in the middle of a big city, or one of the transcontinental rail routes such as that running directly through the middle of our home town - and we could see a repeat of this accident. In a densely-populated area, who knows how many would be killed or injured?
We can't ban the transport of such goods through residential areas - that would be logistically impossible - but we need our urban authorities to carefully consider ways in which their transport could be made safer than it is. Just watch that video again, and realize that anyone caught in that yellow cloud almost certainly didn't make it out - or, if they did, their lungs will probably be permanently damaged and their lifespans drastically shortened.
Scary indeed . . .