Pasir Gudang chemical poisoning: Schools to reopen Monday, oil samples to be collected from river
JOHOR BAHRU: The two schools in Pasir Gudang that were shut down after 39 people were hospitalised for chemical poisoning were not allowed to reopen on Sunday (Mar 10).
The victims, 21 of them students, suffered symptoms such as vomiting and fainting after breathing in toxic fumes from an illegal waste dumping in nearby Kim Kim River.
Johor Education Department deputy director Azman Adnan said Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Pasir Puteh and Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Pasir Putih would only reopen after it had been thoroughly cleaned.
“Please be informed that a special meeting of the Chemical Waste Spill Disaster Relief Committee in Sungei Kim Kim Pasir Gudang, Johor Bahru, was held today by the authorities involving all relevant government agencies.
READ: Pasir Gudang chemical poisoning: 21 students still in hospital after illegal waste dumping in river
“Based on feedback from various departments and agencies, it is recommended SK Taman Pasir Puteh and SMK Taman Pasir Putih will be closed tomorrow, Sunday to enable full cleaning work and the schools will reopen on Monday,” he said in a statement on Saturday.
Azman said that affected students, teachers, parents and guardians would be alerted of the extended closure.
A mass-cleaning exercise was being conducted at the schools when Bernama visited their premises on Sunday. The cleaning was focused on items such as desks and chairs, windows, curtains, fans and air purifiers.
Around 80 teachers, four cleaners and 10 members of the parent-teacher association were involved in the activities at the primary school, said its principal Abdul Rashid Ahmad.
Malaysia fire and rescue officials also lent their assistance.
OIL SAMPLES TO BE COLLECTED FROM RIVER
The state fire and rescue department was also expected to collect samples of oil from patches reported by members of the public.
Tebrau Fire and Rescue Station head Saiful Bahri Safar, who is also chief of the Johor Hazardous Materials and Waste Management (Hazmat) Unit, said the patches were reported about a kilometre from where the chemical waste was suspected to have been dumped by a tanker lorry last Thursday.
‘’We believe the patches are the chemical waste in the Kim Kim River which had slipped into the interior before the oil booms were installed on Thursday.
"Right now, we are discussing with the residents to go there because only they know the location and the route to the place. In addition, only suitable fishing boats can enter the route,’’ he told Bernama.