Explained: Styrene Gas Leak in Vizag, Everything We Know So Far


LG polymer plant in Gopalpatnam, Visakhapatnam.

As per the latest figures, As many as 11 people succumbed, and more than a thousand were affected due to a gas leak accident that happened at the Gopalapatnam area in Vishakhapatnam, Andhrapradesh.

According to the first reports, the incident took place at South Korean company LG’s polymer plant, at the time when workers were busy preparing the plant to restart production amid the relaxation in lockdown announced by the government. The poisonous gas turned out equally devastating for other animals, hundreds of cows, dogs and poultry birds died as a result of prolonged exposure. Following prompt action by local police, state & national disaster response force, conditions quickly came under control, leaving many families grieving the loss of their loved ones.

What is styrene?

Styrene is a popular industrial compound used in the production of mainly packaging material such as styrofoam, polystyrene plastic (thermocol), rubber, and fibreglass. Officially called Phenylethene, According to The Manufacture, Storage, and Import of Hazardous Chemicals Rules, 1989, styrene is classified as a toxic and hazardous chemical.

Symptoms of styrene poisoning?

Short term exposure to lesser concentration than 600 – 700PPM is not fatal for humans; however, symptoms such as headache, excessive weakness, fatigue, irritation in eyes, and gastrointestinal effects may appear. In incidents of high concentration exposure, as it has happened in Vizag, can cause serious ill effects on the central nervous system (CNS), kidney, liver, etc. There is still not enough clarity on whether or not; the fatalities were caused due to direct exposure or organ failure.

An estimated amount, 1800-2000 mt tonnes of gas escaped from LG’s polymer plant. In the plant, the styrene gas is supposed to produce only when the plant is in operation, and this is so because when styrene compound is subjected to higher temperatures, it converts into polystyrene and releases styrene gas. Due to continued lockdown for over a month, there is a fair chance of these stores of styrene managed enough heat from sunlight to kickstart polymerization reaction. Leaving the containers incapable of holding high pressure which wasn’t effectively monitored due to lockdown. This also explains the sudden surge in such leak cases in other parts of the nation.

Countermeasures taken by the government.

In efforts to expunge the active volume of styrene in Vizag, around 500Kgs of a chemical compound called PTBC (para-tertiary butyl catechol), flown from Gujarat via a special Air India flight. It is a catechol derivative, known for acting as an inhibitor to the polymerization reaction of butadiene, styrene, and vinyl acetate. Alternatively, styrene gas could also react with atmospheric nitrogen leading to the formation of Benzonitrile, which is a less toxic form than styrene gas.

Support IndianSpectator by subscribing to our Daily Newsletters, Submit your opinion/articles on Info.indianspectator@gmail.com

Stamp your viewpoint, use the comment box down below. Share on Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp.

Support Indian Spectator, follow us on Google News. Submit your opinion and guest articles on Info.indianspectator@gmail.com

IS NewsDesk
IS NewsDesk
Stories curated by our interns and news crew. Originally reported or general compilation from various available sources and news agencies.

Latest News

Is News Media’s Role in Shaping Justice and Priorities a Double-Edged Sword?

In our information-driven world, news platforms play a crucial role in keeping the public informed about significant events and...

Jio AirFiber vs. Airtel Xstream AirFiber: Which One’s Better for You?

Let's dive right into the world of home internet and make choosing between Airtel Xstream AirFiber and Jio AirFiber....

The Dynamics of Free Markets and Buyouts

In the realm of economics, the interplay between free markets and buyouts is a phenomenon experienced by capitalist nations...

Get 6 Months of Free Jio Service Worth Rs 2,394 with iPhone 15 Purchase

Reliance Jio has rolled out an enticing offer for tech enthusiasts and iPhone aficionados: buy the brand-new iPhone 15...

US-India Relations Trumping US-Canada Ties: Unpacking the Choice

In the evolving landscape of international relations, the dynamics between the United States and India have gained significant prominence,...

Internet Ban in Manipur Lifted: CM N Biren Singh Addresses Ethnic Clashes and Border Security

Imphal, Manipur - Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh made an important announcement today by lifting the internet ban in...

What Are the Root Causes of the Khalistan Issue in India-Canada Relations

The relationship between India and Canada finds itself in turbulent waters, primarily due to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's alarming...

Is One Nation One Election (ONOE) the Future? An analysis

One Nation One Election is not a new idea. In fact, the first-ever general elections for both the Lok...