UPDATED 12:03 PM PT — Saturday, May 9, 2020
Indian police have filed charges against a South Korean owned chemical factory after a gas leak killed 12 people and left hundreds sick. Workers were preparing to restart the LG Chem facility Thursday after coronavirus lockdown orders expired in the area, but were exposed the chemical Styrene during the leak.
Styrene has been used to make plastic and rubber, but in gaseous state can be fatal, immobilizing people within minutes of inhalation.
Protests broke out in response to the leak. Demonstrators demanded justice and for a permanent closure of the factory.
“After the leakage, we locked our doors, but the smell was coming into the house. We could not breathe. We came out and ran on the road, but so many fell down…they are unconscious. They did not know what they were doing.” – Laxmi, gas leak victim
On Saturday, the company apologized to those affected by the incident and said it would extend all support to ensure those affected were taken care of.
Local authorities have accused the plant’s operators of endangering the public through negligence. Environmental courts have also requested the company pay a $6 million dollar fee.