At least eight people have died and 200 others have been hospitalised after a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) styrene gas leak at an LG chemical plant in Vizag, Andhra Pradesh, on Thursday morning. The unit was earlier a Hindustan Polymers facility. Sources told Business Today that about 200 people had so far been admitted to various government and private hospitals. The gas is used in making of plastics. The styrene gas can have serious effects on health and cause upper respiratory tract problems and irritation in eyes and skin.
The leakage reportedly happened around 3 am at LG's Polymers unit at RR Venkatapuram near Naiduthota, Gopalapatnam. Some people were reportedly lying "unconscious" on roads and were facing difficulties in breathing. Many were immediately rushed to hospital after they complained of burning sensation in eyes and breathing difficulties.
Considering the gravity of the situation, PM Narendra Modi held a meeting of the NDMA (National Disaster Management Authority) at 11 AM. "Spoke to officials of MHA and NDMA regarding the situation in Visakhapatnam, which is being monitored closely. I pray for everyone's safety and well-being in Visakhapatnam," he tweeted.
G Kishan Reddy, MoS Home Affairs termed the situation "unprecedented and unfortunate event", and expressed condolences to the families of those who passed away due to the gas leak.
State CM YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has left for Vizag and will visit King George Hospital where the affected people are being treated. The Chief Minister's Office earlier said he was closely monitoring the situation and had instructed the district machinery to take immediate steps and provide all help.