The National Green Tribunal in a suo motu cognizance on styrene gas leak case which occurred in Visakhapatnam has directed LG Polymers to deposit an amount of Rs 50 Crores as an initial amount with the District Magistrate for causing damage to life, public health and environment.
The bench comprising headed by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel observed that “Styrene gas is a hazardous chemical as defined under Rule 2(e) read with Entry 583 of Schedule I to the Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemical Rules, 1989. The Rules require on-site and off-site Emergency Plans to ensure prevention of damage. There appears to be failure to comply with the said Rules and other statutory provisions.”
The bench further observed that the Leakage of Styrene gas which is hazardous in nature at such a scale having adversely affected public health and environment attracts the principle of ‘Strict Liability’ against LG polymers which is liable to restore the damage caused under the Environment Law, apart from other statutory liability.
Moreover the Tribunal also stated that statutory authorities will also be made accountable for their lapses in authorizing and regulating such activities.
Accordingly, the Tribunal has issued notice to Andhra Pradesh State PCB, District Magistrate, Vishakhapatnam, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change (MoEF&CC) and LG Polymers India Pvt., Limited.
The bench also sought a report from a five member committee which shall be aided by the District Magistrate, Vishakhapatnam, and Regional Office, Andhra Pradesh State PCB to enable their fact-finding and reporting. The report is to be submitted before the next date of hearing via email at email@example.com.
The committee is to specifically report on:
- The sequence of events
- Causes of failure and persons and authorities responsible therefor
- Extent of damage to life, human and non-human; public health; and environment – including, water, soil, air
- Steps to be taken for compensation of victims and restitution of the damaged property and environment, and the cost involved
- Remedial measures to prevent recurrence; f. Any other incidental or allied issues found relevant.
The bench has listed the matter for next hearing on May 18.
-India Legal Bureau