Vizag gas leak: Styrene tanks at LG Polymers plant were outdated, lacked temperature sensors, finds NGT-appointed committee

A committee appointed by India’s top environmental court has blamed lack of basic safety norms for a gas leak in a South Korean-owned chemical factory in Visakhapatnam that killed 12 people and sickened hundreds

The Associated Press June 01, 2020 08:13:07 IST
Vizag gas leak: Styrene tanks at LG Polymers plant were outdated, lacked temperature sensors, finds NGT-appointed committee

New Delhi: A committee appointed by India’s top environmental court has blamed “gross human failure” and lack of basic safety norms for a gas leak in a South Korean-owned chemical factory in Visakhapatnam that killed 12 people and sickened hundreds.

The committee said the tanks from which the gas leaked on 7 May at the LG Polymers plant in Vishakhapatnam, a port city in Andhra Pradesh state, were outdated and lacked temperature sensors.

Workers at the factory were slow to respond to the leak and the chemical company lacked experience in monitoring and maintaining tanks full of chemicals that sat idle for weeks due to India’s coronavirus lockdown, said the committee's report, which was issued Thursday and accessed and reviewed by The Associated Press.

LG Polymers is owned by LG Chem Ltd, South Korea’s largest chemical company, which produces a range of industrial products, including petrochemicals, plastics and batteries used in electric vehicles. It is part of the family-owned LG Corp conglomerate, which also has an electronics arm that globally sells smartphones, TVs and computers.

The gas that leaked from the plant was styrene, which is used to make plastic and rubber. Styrene gas is a neurotoxin and can immobilize people within minutes of inhalation. It can be fatal at high concentrations.

Days after the mishap, the AP found out that the plant lacked environmental clearance before the leak.

LG Chem had maintained that LG Polymers India operated the plant “while abiding environmental regulations” and said it was closely monitoring efforts to handle the aftermath.

After the leak, police charged LG Polymers with culpable homicide, including negligence in handling toxic substances.

LG Chem began operating the plant in Vishakhapatnam in 1997. Its Indian operation is one of the leading manufacturers of polystyrene in the country. The Vishakhapatnam plant has around 300 workers.

Updated Date:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

Maharashtra extends lockdown till 31 July; what's allowed: Non-essential markets in Mumbai to stay open from 9-5; private offices can start with 10% strength
India

Maharashtra extends lockdown till 31 July; what's allowed: Non-essential markets in Mumbai to stay open from 9-5; private offices can start with 10% strength

The Maharashtra government on Monday extended the lockdown imposed as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of COVID-19 till 31 July.

Samsung introduces new 50 MP ISOCELL GN1 image sensor for better low light pictures
News & Analysis

Samsung introduces new 50 MP ISOCELL GN1 image sensor for better low light pictures

With its 1/ 1.31-inch sensor size, the GN1 offers dual pixel autofocus to ensure you can take high quality pictures in any environment.