Satinath Sarangi, an activist who has been working for the Bhopal gas tragedy victims since years, spoke to The Quint about the chemical gas leak at the LG Polymers plant in Visakhapatnam on Thursday, 7 May, that has left at least 11 dead and thousands affected.
The activist talked about Styrene, the toxic gas that released from the plant, calling it an “irritant gas.”
“Styrene is an extremely irritant gas. It irritates the skin, nose, eyes, and most importantly it irritates the lungs, just like the gas that was leaked in Bhopal. There is so much irritation in the lungs that they are filled with body fluids which causes obstructive damage and death,” he said.
More than 200 have been hospitalised and thousands living in the three-kilometre radius around the factory have fallen sick after the incident took place around 3 am on Thursday.
He added that the gas is also known to cause damage to the central nervous system.
“It is the long-term impact of styrene that I am more worried about. It’s classified as a possible human carcinogen by the international agency for cancer research. Also, it is known to cross the placental barriers, damage the foetus, genetic damage just like how in Bhopal methyl isocyanate caused chromosome aberrations.”Satinath Sarangi, acitvist
Talking about the people who have been exposed to the gas, he stated a protocol must be put in place to keep them monitored.
“If these people develop cancer or if their prodigy has problems, it should be linked to this incident,” he stated.
Sarangi also noted the case of Sriram Oleum case in regard to the gas leak tragedy.
“The concept of absolute liability was invoked in the Sriram Oleum case. It states that if a corporation stores a chemical that is inherently unsafe then the liability would be absolute, which means you cannot make excuses like it was a neglect,” he added.
Sarangi is a noted activist and co-author of the book, ‘The Bhopal Reader: Remembering Twenty Years of the World's Worst Industrial Disaster.’
Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy has announced one crore as relief to kin of the deceased and has offered cash assistance to those affected.