On Thursday, Till now five have been killed and over 1000 have fallen ill after the gas leaked overnight from a chemical plant in Andhra Pradesh. More than 200 people are hospitalised as the gas leaked out of 5000 tonne tanks that has been unattended due to coronavirus lockdown since late March.
The gas is believed to be ‘Styrene gas’ from an LG Polymers industry situated near Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.
As per report leakage took place at 3 am at LG Polymers industry at RR Venkatpuram Village on Thursday . The incident led to panic among locals in the radius of 3 kilometres. Soon after the matter came to light, local police rushed to the area and launched evacuation of the locals, said Police official Swaroop Rani.
She told “It was left there because of the lockdown. It led to a chemical reaction and heat was produced inside the tanks, and the gas leaked because of that.”
The NDRF and SDRF teams have been deployed in the area and rescue operation is underway. The exact cause of the leakage is yet to be ascertained.
Total 27 persons are involved in the relief and rescue operation being conducted by NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) who are expert in dealing with industrial leakage. 80 to 90 percent evacuation is completed, said NDRF DG. The first call reporting gas in the air went to police at 3:30 AM. The team arrived at the spot but find it difficult to breath and see clearly.
LG Chem, which owns the Visakhapatnam plant operator LG Polymers India told that the leak of gas has been controlled and they are finding ways for speedy recovery of the one who inhaled the gas.
At least three surrounding villages are being evacuated and house-to-house checks are on, said officials.
Residents near the LG Polymers India plant in Gopalpatnam reported burning sensation in their eyes and difficulty in breathing, officials said.
The gas leaked also affected animals and plants and trees of that area. Cows could be seen dead due to inhaling gas.
What the plant manufactured?
The plant makes polystyrene and expandable polystyrene, a versatile plastic used to make a wide variety of consumer products like toys and appliances. Set up in 1961 as Hindustan Polymers, the company was taken over by South Korea’s LG Chem and renamed LG Polymers India in 1997.
What is Styrene Gas? And its effect on humans
- Styrene gas is a colourless or a light yellow flammable liquid that is used in production of polystyrene plastics, fiberglass, rubber, and latex. It occurs naturally in some fruits, vegetables, meats, nuts, and beverages.
- Exposure to styrene on short term causes: Irritation to the eyes, skin, and nose, throat, coughing and wheezing. and breathing problem.
- Long-term exposure to styrene can cause: Central nervous system and kidney effects, Headaches, Depression, Fatigue and weakness Hearing loss Balance and concentration problems and Cancer.