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Vizag leak: Plant is now ‘safe’, says LG Polymers

G Naga Sridhar Hyderabad | Updated on May 08, 2020 Published on May 08, 2020

A gas leak from LG Polymers tanks in Visakhapatnam on Thursday. File photo   -  THE HINDU

LG Polymers India Pvt Ltd (LGPI) said on Friday its plant in RR Venkatapuram, Visakhapatnam, is now ‘safe’, and there can be no further danger as the situation is under control. The styrene chemical vapour leak from the plant in the wee hours of Thursday had claimed 11 lives and affected about 1,000 residents of the villages around the plant.

According to the district administration, the chemical tanks in the plant are now ‘safe’, with 60 per cent of stored styrene vapour polymerisation completed as on Friday evening.

However, complete normalcy can be expected only after about 48 hours, as the remaining 40 per cent of the vapour has to be polymerised, said AP Industries Minister M Goutham Reddy. At the time of the mishap, the tank had 1,800 tonnes of styrene chemical. South Korean company LG, which owns LGPI, said in a statement that the “situation is under control”.

 

Door-to-door survey

The government on Friday commenced a door-to-door survey in the five villages nearby to identify more victims of the gas leak, as some were trapped in their homes due to the impact of the neurotoxic gas, the effect of which was felt over a radius of 5 km.

Per government data, 1,500 people in the five villages were evacuated and rehabilitated. Of them, 554 were shifted to hospitals. While 305 persons, including 52 infants, are being treated at the King George Hospital, 121 are in private hospitals. All are “out of danger” and none is on ventilator support; 128 patients have recovered fully.

The port city did not sleep on Thursday night with rumours of a second leak forcing people to step out of their homes. The police and the company, however, denied it.

A high-level committee chaired by Special Chief Secretary (Environment and Forests) Neerabh Kumar Prasad has been constituted to probe into the mishap. The National Green Tribunal has issued notices to LGPI and directed it to make an interim deposit of ₹50 crore.

According to preliminary findings, a glitch in the refrigeration unit attached to two styrene tanks at the plant caused the vapour leak.

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Published on May 08, 2020
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