Toxic gas leaking from the chemical gas plant of LG Polymers India Pvt Ltd in Visakhapatnam, India in the middle of the night has left at least 10 people dead, according to the latest reports. Up to 800 people have been hospitalized with complaints of headache, vomiting and breathing problems.
Another 1000-1500 people have been evacuated from the surrounding villages. Emergency services have cordoned off a 3-kilometre radius around the plant.
Reports suggest the vapour leak occurred at around 3 a.m. on Thursday, when during work at the plant to propare for the re-opening of the unit following easing of the ongoing coronavirus lockdown.
The leak apparently took place in a tank with 2,000 metric tons of chemical capacity. Another tank with 3,000 MT chemical remained intact. LG Polymers India Pvt Ltd, is a subsidiary of South Korea's LG Chem Ltd. LG Chem and is one of the leading manufacturers of polystyrene and expandable polystyrene in India.
The raw material, styrene, is highly flammable and produces poisonous gasses in a fire. According to LG Polymers parent company LG Chem, these can cause nausea and dizziness when inhaled.
A statement issued by LG Chem said: "The gas leak situation is now under control and we are exploring all ways to provide speedy treatment for those who suffer from inhaling the leaked gas. We are investigating the extent of damage and exact cause of the leak and deaths.”