LG polymers Vizag tragedy – Whom to blame ?
Following the styrene gas leak at LG polymers Vizag, the company is facing several issues. The tragedy costs the life of 12 people and the health of several hundreds. The plant lacked environmental clearance but has all permits from the state for the operations.
The owner of LG polymers addressed an affidavit in May 2019, which included the application for the clearance. This indicates that the company may not possess proper environmental clearance. The LG spokesperson also said that the LG polymers always followed Indian laws and the affidavit was also to go in accordance with the laws but not to escape in a situation like this.
Experts also point out that the disaster may not have a connection with the environmental clearance but the company operated for this long time without proper clearance shows the weakness of environmental laws. An environmental lawyer Mahesh Chandra reported that there are many companies operating without clearance in many hot cities.
The environmental court of India charged the company to pay $6.6 million penalty for the damages. The court also considers the plea raised by an environmental activist and former federal bureaucrat who raised questions against this issue.
The LG polymers spokesperson said that the company could not comment on the current investigation. According to the new environmental laws, a company has to get the clearance every time it expands or changes. But the LG polymers did not get the clearance for the five times they expanded till now.
In 2017 when the firm thought of producing engineering plastics it approached the pollution control board of AP. But the permission was denied and the company didn’t approach for clearance until 2017. After the denial the firm also withdrawn the application and instead applied for retroactive clearance. The application is still pending.
In India two permits are issued by state authorities, one to start a new business and the other to run it. When the firm renewed the permit, the government authorities have the power to fine it for the lack of environmental clearance but they never did so said Mehta, the environmental lawyer.
The debate on whom to be blamed is less important than the lives of several people and the environment. It is the sole responsibility of everyone on this earth to take care of the society and each other.
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