Culpable: Andhra Pradesh police have arrested 12 people, including LG Polymers CEO and two of its directors, in connection with the deadly styrene gas leak on 7 May | Photo: The Rahnuma Daily

Styrene gas leak deaths: LG Polymers CEO, 2 directors among 12 arrested

Andhra Pradesh police on Tuesday arrested 12 people, including the CEO and two directors of South Korean firm LG Polymers Ltd, two months after styrene gas leaked at their plant in Visakhapatnam, killing 15 people and injuring 500 others. Three officials have been suspended for negligence. 

Company’s managing director and CEO Sunkey Jeong, technical director D S Kim (both South Korean nationals) were among those who were arrested a day after the state panel submitted a report to chief minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy blaming the LG Polymers management for its negligence. The accused are being produced before the court for judicial remand. 

The probe stated that the factory be moved away from inhabited areas. Meanwhile in two other gas leak cases in Andhra Pradesh, India’s green court, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ordered two companies to pay interim relief to victims. Two workers were killed and four were hospitalised after inhaling leaked Benzimidazole gas at the pharmaceutical unit of Sainor Life Sciences factory in Visakhapatnam on July 3. In the second incident, one person died and three were injured inhaling ammonia gas that leaked at SPY Agro Industries on June 26. A panel of state and central pollution control boards will file probe reports within three months.

Study reveals elemental loads in Delhi’s winter air, 3 air corridors spiking Delhi’s pollution

A new “source apportionment” study conducted real-time analysis during two consecutive winters of 2018 and 2019 in Delhi and found 35 elements (metals and non-metals) in the Capital’s air, 26 of them in high quantities. 

Scientists also found three air corridors of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh spiking Delhi’s pollution during winter. The study revealed that each of the three states were contributing to a specific set of elements, the combination of which allowed them to identify particular industrial sources of pollution.

The dominant PM10 elements were chlorine, sulphur and crustal material (ie, silicon, calcium, titanium, and iron). The elements measured amounted to around 25% of total PM10 in 2018 and around 19% in 2019. 

Lockdown impact: 4 cities achieved 95% of 2024 NCAP targets in just 74 days

Restrictions on economic activity between March 25 and June 8 saw pollution levels plummet across the country and offered researchers an opportunity to track baseline pollution levels in major Indian cities — a bit of crucial information that had so far remained elusive. The trends established that the lockdown measures resulted in these 4 cities achieving 95% of their 2024 NCAP targets in a short span of 74 days.

The lockdown led to a significant decline in air pollution levels for major cities across India. Researchers from Respirer Living Sciences and Carbon Copy analysed average air quality during the four national lockdown phases as well as during local lockdowns initiated by metros Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru. Concentrations of PM2.5, PM10, nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), ozone (O3), and Benzene were tracked to monitor the implementation of the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP).

EU carmakers likely to miss emission targets kicking in this year

Warming carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from cars in Europe have risen for the third consecutive year in 2019, stated the report by European Union’s environment agency (EEA).

The agency warned the carmakers that they are at risk of missing tough European targets coming into effect this year, if the companies fail to reduce emissions significantly.

Reuters reported that average emissions for new cars in the EU’s 27 member states plus Britain, Iceland and Norway were 122.4 grams of CO2 per kilometre in 2019, an increase of 1.6g compared with 2018, the EEA said.

Automakers would need to slash their emissions by 22% from 2019 levels (130g of CO2 per kilometre). The 2020 target caps average CO2 emissions from new cars at 95g CO2/km, Reuters reported. 

China to cancel subsidy for waste-to-energy power plants over Dioxin risk

As part of an anti-pollution drive, China will suspend subsidies for waste-to-energy (WTE) power plants that violate emissions norms. WTE power plants in China have caused much public discontent over the issues of stench and the risk of toxic emissions, such as dioxin.
Last year, China compelled waste incinerators to make public real-time emission and temperature data and post it on the environmental bureau monitoring system. Now, the government plans to cancel subsidies of those plants that fail to reveal data.

About The Author