STYRENE GAS LEAK AT LG POLYMERS IN VIZAG
A gas leak at factory on the outskirts of Visakhapatnam has led to the death of at least 8 people and le to hundreds being hospitalized.
The leak took place at a chemical plant of LG Polymers owned by the South Korean giant LG Corp, at RR Venkatapuram on the outskirts of the port city of Visakhapatnam. According to Andhra Pradesh Police, the gas leaked out from two 5000 tonne tanks, which had been left unattended since March due to lockdown. It led to a chemical reaction and heat was produced inside the tanks which led to a possible rupture and caused the leakage.
Early morning visuals showed people lying by the road side, any of them unconscious and being carried into ambulances, cars, auto and even two wheelers. People being taken to hospital after they complained of burning sensation in eyes and breathing difficulties.
A total of 8 persons have died in the incident and over a hundred people have been admitted to hospitals in Vizag city. According to RK Meena, Commissioner Police, Visakhapatnam, an FIR has been registered and investigation is on.
The NDRF team reached the spot and styrene gas has been neutralized. The maximum impact was in about 1-1.5 km but smell was in 2-2.5 km. According to SN Pradhan, Director General of NDRF “Styrene is a common chemical used in the plastic industry. But if the quantities of consumption of very high and the proximity is intense, then it can be lethal.”
The gas leakage has stopped, but many people who have not yet been admitted to hospital are facing breathing problems, skin irritation. A total 27 persons are involved in the relief and rescue operation being conducted by National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) who are experts in dealing with industrial leakage. Almost everyone in the area around the plant and nearby villages have been evacuated, according to SDRF officials who are checking locked up homes in the villages surrounding the plant.
An Indian Navy team with 50 breathing sets and associated portable air compressor along with two ambulances are assisting SDRF team in Visakhapatnam.
According to officials, Styrene, a compound when leaked into atmosphere had become air and leaked. Styrene is primarily used in the production of polystyrene plastics, fibre glass, rubber, and latex. While officials have stated that short-term exposure to the gas itself isn’t fatal, acute exposure to concentrated forms of the gas can have toxic effects, particularly on young children.
PM Narendra Modi spoke to officials at Ministry of Home Affairs and NDRF and also called up the Andhra Pradesh CM, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy. According to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister’s Office, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy will leave for Vizag later today and visit King George Hospital where the affected are being treated. He enquired about the gas leak incident in Visakhapatnam and directed the district officials to take every possible step to save lives and bring the situation under control.
Minister for State for Home G Kishan Reddy spoke to the Chief Secretary and Director General of Police, Andhra Pradesh to take stock of the situation. He also instructed NDRF teams to provide necessary relief measures and was said to be continuously monitoring the situation.
We will have more updates from Visakhapatnam during the day.
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