Badlapur: Badlapur residents spent a sleepless night on Thursday after a chemical leak from a factory in the MIDC area of the suburb spewed noxious fumes in the air, causing them breathing problems and eye irritation. The incident reportedly occurred because of the overheating of two chemicals in the factory.
Public announcements were made by the authorities requesting people to stay home until the fire brigade resolved the issue late at night. The leak was plugged and the situation brought under control by Friday morning.
According to fire brigade officials, the incident occurred on Thursday at 10.22pm at Noble Intermediates Pvt Ltd, a chemical firm located in Shirgaon MIDC in Aptewadi, Badlapur east.
Officials from the fire brigade claimed the leak occurred due to the overheating of sulphuric acid and benzoic acid, resulting in the release of toxic gases in the air. This caused breathing and eye distress to citizens living within a radius of three kilometres of the factory.
Two fire vehicles, along with one from Shirgaon MIDC reached the spot when the disaster was called in. “The overheating of two chemicals in the factory had resulted in disturbing the environment, causing the spread of toxic fumes. We reached the spot with fire officials of the MIDC. It was brought under control within 1 hour and 15 minutes," said Chief Fire Officer Bhagwat Sonane, Badlapur-Ambarnath Fire Brigade.
Asked whether any action had been taken or notice sent to the chemical firm he said, “We had have informed the Maharashtra Pollution Control board for further investigation. The chemical inspector and MIDC fire officials will investigate and take action.”
Sonane added, “We reached the spot and immediately started the reactor cooling machine to control the temperature of the chemicals. We will investigate the matter in detail and take necessary action against the company for negligence.”
The official claimed the fumes were not hazardous but people suffered breathing problems, itching in the eyes and coughing. “We started emergency announcements in the area, asking people to stay safe in their houses and not come out till the issue was resolved. By Friday morning, the situation had improved,” said an fire official.
Smitej Sawant and his wife, who live in a residential society hardly 500 metres away from the factory said, “There was smoke spread over several kilometres. People who were already at home, complying with Covid-19 restrictions, felt frightened by the smoke outside. The smoke entered our homes, making us cough and we found it difficult to breathe,” said Sawant. He immediately wrote to the MPCB, asking them to carry out an industrial audit of all chemical companies in Badlapur MIDC. “The authorities should investigate this incident and take action against the firm, so that there is no repeat. Children and the elderly were especially affected,” Sawant said.
Another local, Parag Kashalkar, said the smoke caused those in the vicinity to spend a sleepless night. “Even if the fire brigade brought the situation under control, the smoke and fumes had already entered our bodies. Senior citizens were most in discomfort. We could not even see the buildings next to us, there was smog all around.”