Topic: General Studies 2 & 3:
- Government policies and interventions for development in Health sectors
- Environmental pollution and degradation
- Disaster Management (Laws, Acts etc.)
Vizag gas leak
- Recently, there was a leak of a toxic chemical, Styrene, near Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.
- The source of the leak was a styrene plant owned by South Korean electronics giant LG.
- It has killed several people and left thousands sick.
What is styrene?
- Styrene is a flammable liquid
- It is used in the manufacturing of:
- polystyrene plastics
- It is also found in:
- vehicle exhaust
- cigarette smoke
- natural foods like fruits and vegetables.
- Short-term exposure can result in:
- respiratory problems
- irritation in the eyes
- irritation in the mucous membrane
- gastrointestinal issues.
- Long-term exposure can lead to :
- central nervous system issues
- peripheral neuropathy.
- hearing loss
- difficulty in concentrating.
- Styrene is included in the schedule of the Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemical Rules, 1989.
- Strict norms are to be followed while handling and storing the chemical.
Cause of the leak
- An inquiry is yet to be commissioned to know the exact cause of the leak.
- Faulty safety mechanisms or ignoring them are being cited as the causes of the leak.
- The Andhra Pradesh government must focus immediately on the medical needs of those grievously affected by the gas leak.
- Compensation for the victims and families.
- Access to the highest quality of health care for the victims must be ensured.
- Safety of industrial chemicals must be on continuous watch, irrespective of any pandemic.
- The approach to public and occupational safety must be strengthened.
- The gas leak tragedy is a reminder that safety is paramount when exiting the lockdown.
Connecting the dots :
- Industrial disasters are a result of lack of systemic accountability.
- Presence of Industrial unit in a residential area is a disaster waiting to happen.
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