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Vizag LG plant was a disaster waiting to happen: CEJI

?OUR BUREAU Hyderabad | Updated on May 11, 2020 Published on May 11, 2020

The gas leak mishap at LG Polymers India (LGPI), Visakhapatnam “was a disaster waiting to happen and is the outcome of a breach of safety protocol in handling toxic and hazardous chemicals,” alleged the Coalition for Environmental Justice in India (CEJI).

CEJI said in a report, “LG opened the plant for production without sufficient strength of technically-qualified personnel and supportive staff present who are critical to dealing with any and all exigencies.”

The company “was not in any state of readiness’’ to handle the emergency. Preliminary accounts reveal LG had not instituted any of the mechanisms essential per the Chemical Accidents (Emergency Planning, Preparedness and Response) Rules, 1996 and Hazardous Waste Management Rules, 2016.

Stating that the State and central regulatory agencies are complicit in this disaster, CEJI alleged the LG Polymers was at fault by operating the plant claiming it as an “essential” industry, though all it produces is polystyrene pellets used in making plastic.

Breach of safety protocols

“The company possibly benefited from complicity of Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB) and land use planning authorities, who accorded the Red Category project approval to continue operating in a densely populated region of Visakhapatnam in gross violation of all applicable norms and standards,” it said.

The company possibly expanded production, and admittedly applied for post facto clearance from Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC). “This application ought to have been rejected at the very instance of filing and action initiated against the company.”

The CEJI also alleged that officials allowed the plant to function in a Red Category in a major metropolis, when this has been prohibited. They claimed that the officals ahd approved the reopening of this factory during the lockdown and without reviewing if safeguards were in place.

The CEJI demanded that the facility should be shut down and every one impacted must be provided the best care and treatment guided by the Principle of Inter-generational Equity, as the chemicals leaked are known to be carcinogenic and neurotoxic, and there could be inter-generational consequences. “The Managing Director of LG India Pvt Ltd and senior managers of the company must be arrested,” it added.

Published on May 11, 2020

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