60% of styrene vapour leaked from Andhra plant polymerised

Visakhapatnam Collector says it will take 18-24 hours more for rest of the vapour to polymerise and turn safe; state secretary appoints high-level committee to probe gas leak incident

As many as 12 people, including a minor, were killed when styrene vapours leaked from the LG Polymers plant on May 7, while several hundred fell ill after inhaling the poisonous chemical at RR Venkatapuram near Visakhapatnam.

Over 60 per cent of the styrene vapour that leaked from a tank in LG Polymers near Visakhapatnam on Thursday (May 7), killing at least 11 people, has polymerised so far and all chemical tanks in the plant are safe, District Collector V Vinay Chand said on Friday (May 8).

In a report submitted to Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy during a video conference, the Collector said it might take 18-24 hours for the remaining vapour to polymerise and
turn safe.

“We have taken all measures to plug the leak completely and experts are closely monitoring the situation. The situation is now fully under control,” the Collector added.

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Related news: Lapses in safety protocols: Vizag gas leak was a disaster in waiting

Chief Secretary Nilam Sawhney, who was camping in Visakhapatnam overseeing the relief measures, also said the situation was totally under control and all tanks in the LG plant were safe.

Responding to this, the chief minister directed the officials to speak to the engineers and explore steps to utilise the raw material and chemicals in the plant fully.

“Also, take steps to remove the chemicals from the plant to another place,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sawhney issued an order appointing a high-level to probe into the causes behind the gas leak and suggest measures to improve the protocol for industrial safety of similar types of plants.

Special Chief Secretary (Environment and Forests) Neerabh Kumar Prasad will be its chairman and Pollution Control Board Secretary Vivek Yadav will be the member-convenor.
Special CS (Industries), Visakhapatnam District Collector and city Police Commissioner will be the other members.

“The Committee shall inquire into the reasons for the leakage and verify if the company adhered to all safety protocols. It will study if there are any long-term effects of the gas leakage on the surrounding villages,” the Chief Secretary said.

Related news: Vizag styrene gas leak: How the disaster unfolded

“The Committee will also recommend proposed action to be taken against the unit by the government, in case of any negligence on the vapour leak incident in Visakhapatnam, she
added.

The committee has been asked to submit its report within a month.

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