Before the sun rises, approximately by 3 am styrene gas leaked from LG polymers plant at RR Venkatapuram, Gopalapatnam, Visakhapatnam. 8 persons including a 6 years old girl died out of the gas leak. Several other persons were admitted to the hospital mainly due to breathing problems. The LG polymer plant is located on the outskirts of Visakhapatnam and has been closed since March due to lockdown.
It was reported that the gas has spread over a radius of 3 km affecting at least 5 villages including R.R. Venkatapuram, Padmapuram, B.C. Colony, and Kamparapalem. The Principal of Andhra Medical College Prof. P.V. Sudhakar and GVMC Commissioner S. Srijana. Prof. Sudhakar said that there are possibilities for the deaths to increase so that the continuous monitoring of patients is essential.
Styrene gas leak
The styrene gas is a poisonous, inflammable gas used in the plastics engineering industry. Dr. D Raghunatha Rao, former Director, Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital and Research Centre said that minimum exposure of the gas may lead to mucous membrane and eye irritation, and gastrointestinal effects.
It is said that the gas is leaked out of two 5000 tonne tanks and was left unnoticed due to this COVID lockdown. Many affected people were admitted to government and private hospitals. At the same time many people were shifted to KG hospital.
Cover the face with a wet cloth
The Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation is jointly working with police and NDRF to minimize the leakage of gas by blowing waters. People are advised to cover their faces with a wet cloth to reduce the exposure to the gas. A toll-free number 1800 4250 0009 is available for emergency contact.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that he spoke to all the concerned officials including the state chief minister and said that he prays for all the good to happen.
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team comprising of 27 personnel is currently in operation to evacuate the people in the areas exposed to the gas. The evacuation is still on the process.
The styrene gas leak along with COVID has created a great sense of fear.
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