The gas leak incident near Visakhapatnam in the early hours of May 7 has led to the death of more than 10 people and hospitalisation of over 200. According to the district authorities, the gas was confirmed to be either styrene or vinyl benzene. As an intermediary, styrene is known as PVC gas and is used for the manufacture of insulation material, plastic, rubber, pipes, fibre glass and also for the packaging industry. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), it is the 12th most used chemical in the world. It is to the credit of the district authorities and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), who reacted quickly, that fatalities remained low. Around 500 kg of chemicals were airlifted from Gujarat to neutralise the effect of the gas well in time.
Separately, with the direct intervention of the United Nations (UN), the bar for investigation of the Vizag gas leak case has not only been raised but has also been virtually internationalised. The spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, Stéphane Dujarric, said, “We obviously send our condolences to the victims and hope for the quick recovery of those who have been impacted. These kinds of incidents should be fully investigated by the local authorities.”
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