We know it is not an important matter to discuss what a gas accident is or tragedy is. But in this article, we will take you to what are the reasons and official actions behind the gas tragedies.
Why do these gas tragedies happen?
Gas tragedies happen mostly because of deploying an unskilled worker at imperative machine works. It is mostly human error which can be blamed for most of the times rather than machine errors.
What is the reason for contemporary gas leaks?
It is much prevalent of three tragedies on a single day. The reason behind this is a nationwide lockdown to tackle SARS-CoV-19 disease. Although it is not reasonable to blame the government (lockdown), the factory should have anticipated the reaction well before.
How lockdown can be a cause?
It is lockdown what made factories shut down for the past 40 days. More importantly, considering LG polymers (Vizag), it is a factory which produces polystyrene products which require the usage of styrene chemical.
According to the chemical rules 1989, the rules impose strict norms of handling and maintaining styrene chemicals.
What is styrene?
Styrene is a chemical compound that is also known as ethenylbenzene, vinylbenzene, and phenylethene. It is used to make latex, synthetic rubber, plastic packaging, disposables (cups, plates, glass), and for some other uses. Styrene is an artificial chemical as well as a natural chemical where some plants produce it.
How harmful is styrene?
The chemical is fatal (death causing) but, the chances are less. Though it has a long-term impact like skin diseases, respiratory diseases, cancer, headache, walking problems, coma, and eye infections. There are no antidotes or treatments.
If there are no antidotes or treatments, how the medical staff is handling patients?
It is again a simple answer; India has recovered around 16,000+ SARS-CoV-2 patients without any vaccine. It is to say that there is no specific treatment.
What does the factory produce? What is their (factory owner) response to the accident?
The company was earlier Hindustan polymers and has been acquired by South Korea based LG polymers. According to the company official, they engage works in preparing fiber products, toys, rubber material, and some appliances as well.
The company has requested government officials to arrange 4-tertiary butyl catechol (PTBC) chemical form a Gujarat based factory to contain reactions in an early stage.
What actually happened in the factory?
Two tanks stores styrene monomer, a raw material for polystyrene. The gas leak has happened in a 2,400-tonne capacity tank which contained 1,800-tonne of styrene. If the company would not have been closed for 40 days, the material would have been into the reactor and this mammoth incident would not happen.
Some temperature imbalances caused styrene monomer to break safety valves and evaporate.
NRDF (National Disaster response force) had closely monitored the situation and shifted the victims to the nearest hospitals.
NDMA (National Disaster management authority) worked under MHA’s (Ministry of home affairs) supervision.
Chief justice of the state sought to know how the industry was located in a highly-populated area and asked the chief minister to visit the site.
Because health is a state subject, the state government of Andhra Pradesh has compensated the loss.
What can be done to eradicate gas accidents?
To put it simply, it is never a good thought to buy glass pieces at the cost of diamonds. By this we mean, both government and factory officials should have taken enough measures to control such situations.
- The Government should employ chemical intellectuals specifically to monitor or guide factories.
- Factories should employ only skilled workers for risky departments.
- The Government should make sure that; the factory is abided of all norms and regulations.
- Licenses should be canceled swiftly of those factories who do not respect the norms.
- The periphery of the factory should be confined and the vicinity should be planted with trees.
- Huge alarms should be installed to alert people of the vicinity in case of any accidents.
What the government needs to do and what are the acts that are supporting them:
The Environment Protection Act, 1986, which gives powers to the central government to undertake measures for improving the environment and set standards and inspect industrial units.
Hazardous Waste (Management Handling and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 1989: Industry required to identify major accident hazards, take preventive measures and submit a report to the designated authorities
Manufacture, Storage, And Import Of Hazardous Chemicals Rules, 1989: Importer must furnish complete product safety information to the competent authority and must transport imported chemicals in accordance with the amended rules.
Chemical Accidents (Emergency, Planning, Preparedness, and Response) Rules, 1996: Centre is required to constitute a central crisis group for the management of chemical accidents; set up a quick response mechanism termed as the crisis alert system. Each state is required to set up a crisis group and report on its work.
The Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991, which is an insurance meant to provide relief to persons affected by accidents that occur while handling hazardous substances.
The National Environment Appellate Authority Act, 1997, under which the National Environment Appellate Authority can hear appeals regarding the restriction of areas in which any industries, operations or processes or class of industries, operations or processes shall not be carried out or shall be carried out subject to certain safeguards under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
National Green Tribunal, 2010, provides for the establishment of a National Green Tribunal for effective and expeditious disposal of cases related to environmental protection and conservation of forests.