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At a polymer facility located in coastal city of Vishakhapatnam (VIZAG) (Village RR Venkatpuram), run by the South Korean LG Polymers, an early morning toxic gas leak has caused at least 11 fatalities* and has sent over 1000 to hospitals due to health issues. The toxic gas is believed to be popular industrial monomer styrene which can take many forms of hazards if present in a facility.

It is a possible self polymerising chemical and is not to be left oxidising on its own in elevated ambient temperatures as well.

While the spread of toxic cloud engulfed an area of 5 km radius around the facility, the disaster management teams were struggling to contain the effect during early reports.

The situation industrially termed as an ‘offsite emergency’ needs a state approved ‘offsite emergency plan’ in place that should be available with all necessary information for all bulk chemicals and related scenarios.

It was difficult to ascertain* how and who had initiated and lead the emergency response as the area (Vizag) houses hundreds of national and multinational chemical manufacturing and storage plants including the national premiers Aurobindo Pharma and Kanoria Chemicals. 

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