Seven people died, and hundreds were hospitalized after a gas leak in a chemical factory owned by the South Korean company LG. Outside the factory near Visakhapatnam, “dozens of men and women were left lying unconscious in the street”.
The incident comes at a time when the Indian officials eased lockdown measures after a six-week lockdown. The report notes, “Indian officials are examining whether the leak was caused by a rush to reopen the chemical plant”.
“Doctors at the King George Hospital in Visakhapatnam, said patients had been exposed to styrene gas, which is used to make plastics and rubber”, said the report.
Styrene gas is considered a neurotoxin that can immobilize a person within minutes of inhalation and be deadly at high concentrations. The report notes that the accident happened around 2:30 a.m.
Further, “According to initial reports, the cloud of toxic gas spread over a radius of about three kilometres, sickening people in at least five villages. Officials said that the leak had stopped by midmorning, perhaps earlier”.
The images drew horrific memories of the 1984 gas leak in Bhopal. “That leak, at a Union Carbide pesticide plant, left nearly 4,000 dead and another 500,000 injured’, pointed the report.
Bhopal disaster had revealed the dangerous industrial practices in India. Governments have since enforced safety standards, but many industrial accidents frequently occur across the country. The company though said that it is still investing how the leak happened.
Link to the original article for deep read: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/07/world/asia/india-lg-gas.html