- In the early hours of May 7, at least 11 people lost their lives in the gas leaked from a chemical plant in Visakhapatnam and more than 1,000 fell ill.
- The gas that leaked from Korean company LG Polymers’ plant in Visakhapatnam was styrene. It is a hazardous chemical which goes into the making of polystyrene; the marshmallow-like materials the ubiquitous white cups at coffee and tea vend are made of.
- But this is not the only incident of a gas leak that proved fatal.
Back in 1984, a gas leak from the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) plant in Bhopal killed at least 3,787 people.
- A look at some of the other fatal gas leak cases that the country witnessed.
What legal protections exist:
How offence are constituted:
According to PRS Legislative, any incident similar to the Bhopal gas tragedy will be tried in the National Green Tribunal and most likely under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. “…if an offence is committed by a company, every person directly in charge and responsible will be deemed guilty, unless he proves that the offence was committed without his knowledge or that he had exercised all due diligence to prevent the commission of such an offence,” PRS states.
The state of chemical disaster risk in India
- According to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), in the recent past, over 130 significant chemical accidents have been reported in the country, which have resulted in 259 deaths and caused major injuries to more than 560 people.
- There are over 1861 Major Accident Hazard (MAH) units spread across 301 districts and 25 states and three Union Territories in all zones of the country.
- Further, there are thousands of registered and hazardous factories and unorganised sectors dealing with numerous ranges of hazardous material posing serious and complex levels of disaster risks.
What is needed:
- Strengthening Legal & Institutional Framework
- Deploying Tools and Techniques in CDM
- Risk-management integration to development
- Capacity building needs and options
- Information management & Knowledge networking.
Source:”Indian Express “.
POSSIBLE UPSC CSE MAINS QUESTION: