A day after the styrene gas leakage at LG Chem's polymers plant in Vizag left 11 people dead and many injured, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed the company to deposit Rs 50 crore as damages today. The tribunal has issued notices to LG Polymers, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) over the tragic incident, which also led to hospitalisation of hundreds of people.
The Centre has also deployed a team from the chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear unit of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Pune, along with an expert team of National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur, to manage the crisis on the ground and take measures for resolving the short term and long term medical impact of the gas leak at Visakhapatnam.
The government has confirmed the incident happened due to styrene gas leakage from the polymers factory in RR Venkatapuram village of Gopalapatnam Mandal in Visakhapatnam. The gas leak also affected surrounding villages Narava, BC Colony, Bapuji Nagar, Kampalapalem and Krishna Nagar.
The state police are also probing reasons for the gas leak and investigating whether LG Polymers flouted the CBRN safety guidelines issued by the NDMA. The plant was restarting after the government lifted certain lockdown restrictions.
Some reports also emerged on Friday saying after midnight gas fumes had started leaking from the plant again. However, the Andhra Pradesh Police took to Twitter to dismiss reports, saying the maintenance team was repairing the system and some vapour was let out. Cops said report of another leak was false.
LG Chem is in the styrenics business and is a leading manufacturer of polystyrene and expandable polystyrene in India. The company also makes Engineering Plastics Compounds (EPC), which are lighter and stronger than general plastics. It is used as an industrial raw material for automobiles and electronic parts.
The styrene gas can have serious effects on health and cause upper respiratory tract problems and irritation in eyes and skin. Exposure to styrene, also known as ethenylbenzene, can also affect the central nervous system (CNS), causing headache, fatigue, weakness, and depression.