The Daily Anachronism: Nagoda Chlorine Leak

Paranthan Chemicals Company Ltd

So Daily Mirror reported that an explosion had taken place at the Kalutara Industrial Zone. What is actually the Fullerton Industrial Zone did experience a chlorine leak, though no such explosion had occurred. On visiting the site we were made to wait an hour until we were able to speak to officials at the Paranthan Chemicals Company. What was interesting was that the General Manager gave a completely different story to that of the Assistant General Manager and the employee who stepped in to stop the leak.

Prasad Bandara, hero of the day.

While one stated the leak occurred between a caustic pond and a cylinder, the other clarified that it was an overflow pipe between a container and the filling station. We decided to report both versions of the story. What is funny is that the Chairman is quoted at the end of the article boasting about their ‘zero-disaster’ safety program while just above his employee is contradicting his General Manager. While Daily Mirror reported that 11 persons suffered chemical burns, this was not so. Only 7 were admitted for inhaling the fumes. Their condition was not serious, though they had not been discharged by evening as the officials said they would be.

On returning to office I typed up the notes I had into coherent passages and transcribed the audio recording of the employee giving his version of the story. A little editing afterwards and the article was done. Cue smoke break. And thus a hard day’s work was done.

It took us two hours to get to the site and two hours to return. Lesson for the day would be to take the highway whenever an opportunity comes up. While I didn’t have time for lunch I did manage to commemorate 4:20. I suppose we ought to count the small blessings. It was interesting investigating the story in that state of mind. Remnants of a high from a day ago returned causing a cleansing of sorts in terms of what I took in. I’m not proposing that we all get high on assignment, just that in this case it worked quite well for me.

Jah Bless!


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