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Nation Current Affairs 01 Jun 2020 Experts find fault w ...

Experts find fault with NGT panel's report on styrene gas tragedy

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | DC CORRESPONDENT
Published Jun 1, 2020, 6:22 pm IST
Updated Jun 1, 2020, 6:25 pm IST
Scientists for People said the committee appointed by NGT wasted an opportunity to investigate the incident
File photo of LG polymers plant which was closed after the gas leak incident at RR Venkatapuram near Gopalapatnam in Visakhapatnam
 File photo of LG polymers plant which was closed after the gas leak incident at RR Venkatapuram near Gopalapatnam in Visakhapatnam

Visakhapatnam: A group of experts called 'Scientists for People' have criticised the report of the joint monitoring committee appointed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to probe the styrene gas leakage from LG Polymers near Venkatapuram in Visakhapatnam on May 7. They were disappointed with the scientific quality and integrity of the report.

Scientists for People said the committee appointed by NGT wasted an opportunity to investigate the incident. They wondered how the committee members who never visited the plant approved the report. "The report is a futile exercise devoid of any actual investigation. It is a mere compilation of information given by the company," said Dr K Babu Rao, a former scientist of the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT).  

 

Pointing out several shortcomings in the report, he said: "The root cause of the incident was identified as self-polymerization due to stagnant high polymer content. The actual root cause appears to be the lack of experience of LG Polymers India and their Korean principal, LG Chem, in monitoring and maintaining full tanks of styrene that were kept idle for several weeks."

B Sri Ramachandra Sai, senior general manager at Thyssenkrupp Industrial Systems India at Mumbai, also criticised the report. He has experience of designing and engineering styrene production plants. He said the report did not cover any aspect regarding international practices in designing, operating and maintaining styrene storage installations and comparing with that at LG Polymers plant.

He further said the report has not mentioned the condition of other styrene storages at the time of accident, sampling frequency and analysis of styrene during lockdown period for polymer content to use as guidance to take steps to prevent auto polymerisation. "Temperature measurement cannot be the only guidance factor to the operator to prevent auto polymerisation. The report failed to throw light on how the tank temperature is to be brought down and what are the future recommendations for faster cooling of tank before vapour is spread to the environment," he added.

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