The Styrene gas leak from LG Polymers plant at RR Venkatapuram village in Andhra Pradesh was due to a technical glitch in the refrigeration unit, said the Vishakapatnam District Collector on Thursday. The LG Polymers is a unit of South Korea’s biggest petrochemical maker, LG chem Limited.
The refrigeration unit that failed is two tanks used to store styrene. The substance is stored in the liquid stage and it is safe below 20-degree centigrade. But due to the failure of the refrigeration unit, the temperature of the tanks rose, due to which the Styrene started evaporating and its gas built up inside the tank. When the plant prepared to resume operation after relaxations were announced in Coronavirus lockdown, the gas evaporated from the tanks and spread in the atmosphere.
The death toll due to the LG Polymer gas leaking incident has risen to 11 while more people are on the ventilator. The chemical gas leakage was reported early morning on Thursday at LG Polymers factory in Vishakapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. More than 200 were admitted to the hospitals following the leak of styrene gas from an LG Polymers facility located near Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.
FIR Registered against the Management
A criminal case has been registered against the management of LG Polymers. The FIR was filed under sections 278, 284,285, 337, 338, 304-II of the Indian Penal Code.
Andhra Pradesh DGP Damodar Gautam said, “Right now gas has been neutralised. The situation is now stable and under control. Around 800 people were shifted to hospitals, but many have been discharged now. An investigation will be carried out to see how this happened.”
Andhra Pradesh government led by Jagan Reddy launched helpline numbers 7997952301 and 891923934 to contact Deputy Director S Prasada Rao. Another number can be contacted at 9701197069 to R Brahma.
He also announced an ex-gratia of one-crore each to the family of deceased in the gas leak tragedy.
People complained of toxic smell and irritation
The police and the local administration came into action after locals reported throat and skin irritation and some toxic smell following the leak from the polymer plant. A team of NDRF and SDRF was deployed in the area.
As per reports, the NDRF team evacuated around 1000-1500 people, and more than 800 have been hospitalized after the gas leak incident at a chemical plant in Vishakapatnam.
As per the Director-General of NDRF, SN Pradhan said, “The incident was reported by locals around 2:30 in the morning, it was because of throat irritation and skin irritation and toxic smell. They informed the local administration. The administration officials and fire tenders reached the location. The NDRF unit of Visakhapatnam was informed at 5 am in the morning; they reached the site in half an hour and started rescue operations.”
Three surrounding villages were vacated
At least three surrounding villages were vacated and house-to-house checks are on. Reportedly, more than 5,000 people are living in five surrounding villages, in a three km radius, have been reported sick.
According to an eyewitness, people were found unconscious in lanes, ditches, and near houses. Efforts were underway to plug the leak. The incident created panic in a 3 km radius area. The maximum impact of the gas was in a 1-1.5 km radius area, but the smell of the gas was present up to 2-2.5 km.
Soon after the matter came to light, local police rushed to the area and launched an evacuation of the locals. Hundreds of people were admitted to private and government hospitals with the help of police and locals.