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Negligence to blame for styrene leak

Focus: GS3: Disaster Management

Why in news?

  • The disastrous leak of a toxic chemical that had killed several people and left hundreds sick near Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh was said to be a result of negligence

More about the gas

  • Styrene, the chemical involved is included in the schedule of the Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemical Rules, 1989.
  • The rules lay down strict norms on how it should be handled and stored.

What should be done now?

  • The Andhra Pradesh government must focus on the medical needs of those who have been grievously affected by the gas leak and provide compensation
  • Solatium payments and compensation for the victims and families are important, but so is access to the highest quality of health care for the victims.
  • This is also a warning for industries across India that are going to reopen after the long lockdown and safety of industrial chemicals requires continuous watch, with no scope for waivers.
  • As India aims for a wider manufacturing base, it needs to strengthen its approach to public and occupational safety.
  • Transparent oversight is not a hurdle to industrial growth.
  • It advances sustainable development by eliminating terrible mistakes.
November 2023