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Acid leak purely an accident, says TNPCB

9 March 2011

Special Correspondent
The Hindu

CUDDALORE: Top officials of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board have said that the acid leak that created lot of fumes in the unit run by the Shasun Chemicals and Drugs Ltd in the SIPCOT Industrial Estate here on Monday night was an accident and it was not posing any life threatening situation.

Additional Chief Environmental Engineer of the TNPCB (Chennai) S.Balaji told The Hindu that soon after information about the incident he went to the unit for spot inspection.

He found that the bottles containing bromine stored in saw dust filled wooden boxes spilled due to mishandling and it reacted with the hydrochloric acid kept nearby. This had created dense fumes that spread over the nearby places.

It was his immediate endeavour to control the fumes for which certain speedy measures were taken. To contain the fumes slaked lime was sprinkled over the chemicals and now the situation was well under control.

Deputy Chief Scientific Officer (forensic wing of the TNPCB) R.Dhanasekaran said that it was a pure accident as the broken bottles containing bromine might have triggered the fumes. Now the fumes were brought under control and also the pungent odour.

For every chemical spillage appropriate measures ought to be taken as stipulated and this was being done in a careful manner in this case.

He underscored the point that public safety was well assured and there was no need for panic.

Mr. Balaji further said that with the staff of the company the chemical substances were being removed in a safe manner. In this context, he said that awareness should be created among the local residents about the hazards of living close to chemical units.

Conducting mock drills frequently on how to tackle such exigencies would keep the local community well informed, Mr Balaji said.

When asked how long the unit should remain closed, Mr Balaji said that he would visit the company after some time to evaluate the situation and take a decision.

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