[splco_heading size=”15″ align=”left” margin=”30″]Morning of horror struck in this port city in Andhra Pradesh, that made so far eleven dead, over 5,000 fall sick after gas leak from LG Polymers chemical plant [/splco_heading]
Reason attributed to deadly gas, thought to be styrene, escaped from two tanks at a chemical plant.A local police officer said, as reported by AFP, that the gas leak took place from two 5,000-tonne tanks that had been left unattended due to the coronavirus lockdown since late March
The incident led to panic among locals in a radius of 3 km around the plant with many people seen lying unconscious on the roads. Others were having breathing problems and complained of rashes on their body and sore eyes.
Local reports said people rushed over to the Meghadrigadda water reservoir to wash themselves. TV footage showed people slumped on the pavements. Motorbikes were left in the middle of the roads as though people had just fallen off them.
Greater Vizag Municipal Corporation (GVMC) commissioner G Srijana confirmed 8 deaths and said public alerts have been issued warning people to stay home and cover their noses and eyes with a wet cloth. Officials said the death toll will likely rise.
Footage on local television channels showed people, including women and children, falling in the streets. “We can confirm at least five deaths right now. More will be confirmed late,” Swaroop Rani, assistant police commissioner, said.
B K Naik, a hospital coordinator, said at least 1,000 people had been sent to different hospitals. It was feared many others may be unconscious in their homes as it was still early morning when the gas leak took place.
“We authorities are checking (in houses) as well. We are working to get people to hospital. They need oxygenation and fresh air,” AFP quoted him as saying.
Swaroopa Rani said the gas leak was due to a chemical reaction that produced heat in the two tanks. She said local villagers raised the alarm around 3:30 am, saying there was a smell of some gas in the air.
“We reached there immediately. One could feel the gas in the air and it was not possible for any of us to stay there for more than a few minutes,” AFP quoted Swaroopa Rani as saying.
The plant operated by LG Polymers is located on the outskirts of Visakhapatnam, an urban agglomeration of five million.
The GVMC said its officials are trying to reduce the impact of the gas leak by spraying water, and public address systems are being used to ask people to use masks.
Chief minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy has asked district officials to take every possible step to save lives and bring the situation under control.
LG Polymers is a South Korean company that makes polystyrene and expandable polystyrene, a versatile plastic used to make a wide variety of consumer products like toys and appliances. It has been in operation since 1961.
Former director of Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital and Research Centre Dr D Raghunatha Rao said styrene is primarily used in the production of polystyrene plastics and resins. If exposed to the gas, it results in mucous membrane and eye irritation, and gastrointestinal effects.
Chronic (long-term) exposure to styrene in humans results in ill-effects on the central nervous system causing headache, fatigue, weakness, and depression, CNS dysfunction, hearing loss and peripheral neuropathy.
As per Dun and Bradstreet report LG Polymers India Pvt Ltd incorporated in the year 2001 ( Previously LG Chem) is part of the Plastic Resin & Synthetic Fiber Manufacturing Industry.
LG POLYMERS INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED has 576 total employees across all of its locations and in the year 2018 it generated 16,645 Crores INR ( 219.51 million USD). There are 24 companies in the LG POLYMERS INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED corporate family.
India witnessed in December 1984 one of the worst industrial disasters in history when gas leaked from a pesticide plant in Bhopal.