The chemical factory that leaked gas into a coastal Indian city on Thursday morning, killing at least 12 people and putting hundreds in hospital, was operating illegally until at least the middle of 2019, documents show.
In an affidavit filed by LG Polymers in May 2019, as part of its application to expand the plastic plant’s operations, the South Korean multinational admitted it was operating its polystyrene plant without the mandatory environmental clearance from the Indian government.
“As on this date our industry does not have a valid environmental clearance substantiating the produced quantity, issued by the competent authority, for continuing operations,” the company said.
In the early hours of Thursday, toxic styrene fumes began leaking from the LG plant in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh state, as preparations were underway to restart production after a nationwide lockdown. The gas enveloped residents as they slept, causing people to collapse in the streets as they fled their homes. About 1,000 people were exposed to the gas, which causes neurological symptoms including headaches and nausea, as well as burning eyes. Twelve residents, including two children, died.
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