At least 11 people, including a minor, are reported to have died following a leakage of styrene gas at LG Polymers’ chemical plant in RR Venkatapuram village, Visakhapatnam, in Andhra Pradesh today. According to reports another 1,000 people reported sick after the gas spread in five villages within a three-km radius of the plant. Close to 300 people were rushed to hospitals for treatment after complaining of breathing difficulties and burning sensation in their eyes. The Vizag factory was trying to open post lockdown when the incident occurred, DG NDRF told to press.

Chief Minister Y.SJagan Mohan Reddy announced Rs 1 crore compensation to the kin of the dead. The government will also offer jobs to people who are victims of the gas leak and the kin of the family of the dead. Prime Minister Narendra Modi took stock of the situation and assured all possible assistance to state Chief Minister Y.S.Jagan Mohan Reddy.

A specialised chemical called PTBC, made only in Vapi town of Gujarat, will be sent to Visakhapatnam on an urgent basis to help in neutralising the effects of gas leak at a polymer plant there, a Gujarat government official said on Thursday.

“This chemical, used for reducing the effects of gas in the air after a leak, is manufactured only in Vapi. The Andhra Pradesh government requested Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani to facilitate airlifting of the chemical from Vapi to be sent there as soon as possible,” said Ashwani Kumar, secretary in the Gujarat chief minister’s office.

What is styrene?

It is a flammable liquid that is used in the manufacturing of polystyrene plastics, fiberglass, rubber, and latex. According to Tox Town, a website run by the US National Library of Medicine, styrene is also found in vehicle exhaust, cigarette smoke, and in natural foods like fruits and vegetables.

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