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Vizag Gas Leak: A Tragedy In A Crisis

Vizag Gas Leak: A Tragedy In A Crisis
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Visakhapatnam gas leak
Highlights

The chemical leak from a reputed polymer factory near Visakhapatnam in the early hours of Thursday has claimed the lives of at least eleven people and has left many gasping for life in various hospitals.

The chemical leak from a reputed polymer factory near Visakhapatnam in the early hours of Thursday has claimed the lives of at least eleven people and has left many gasping for life in various hospitals. The malfunctioning of a valve is said to be the trigger behind this massive tragedy. LG Polymers needs to come clean and explain the accident to the authorities—an accident which has claimed 11 lives, while others continue to struggle with the effects of the leak.

The tragic deaths and illnesses are disturbing in themselves, as is the lack of promptness shown by the company management in not sounding a siren to alert the villagers, as residents of local areas have alleged.

The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy rushed to Visakhapatnam to take stock of the situation and met many of the affected patients in hospitals. The chief minister has reviewed the situation with officials and has also ordered a thorough probe into the tragic incident. Prime Minister Narendra Modi held an emergency meeting of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), spoke to the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, and assured him of all support.

The Andhra Pradesh Minister for industries MGautam Reddy stated that the company management will have to explain what protocols were followed and accordingly criminal action would be initiated against them.

This is precisely the question being asked of the chemical polymer plant located in Visakhapatnam. Did they not follow laid down protocols in trying to resume operations? The company is yet to give a clear explanation on this aspect. It is likely that in the days and weeks to come to several other important facts related to the gas emission will emerge.

The Andhra Pradesh government has taken a serious view of this tragic incident. The chemical leak of styrene gas, commonly used in the plastics engineering industry is a tragedy that simply should not have happened. The company in question, LG Polymers, must be made accountable and should be made to accept responsibility for this tragic incident.

Styrene attacks the lungs and reduces their capacity to inhale oxygen. It also damages the nervous system and causes irritation in eyes, as also harmful gastrointestinal effects. Doctors classify it among the class II carcinogenic products.

Coming as it does in the time of the coronavirus pandemic sweeping through the entire country, this gas leak has lent an additional dimension to the challenge doctors are facing. The Andhra Pradesh government's resolve to punish the guilty in the matter is welcome and deserves to be appreciated. Sooner the better.

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