PASIR GUDANG: The polluted river at Pasir Gudang, which resulted in thousands of people falling ill, is now clean and safe, said Malaysia's Minister of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Yeo Bee Yin on Tuesday (Mar 19).
“A total of 900 tonnes of soil and 1,500 tonnes of polluted water has been cleaned,” said the minister, as reported by The Star.
However, authorities will continue to monitor the situation for the next 15 days to guarantee the safety of the public.
The cleanup of the affected 1.5km stretch started on Mar 13 and took four days to complete.
Yeo visited the illegal toxic dumping site to check the air quality after the cleaning operations were completed, she said on Facebook.
"The gas detector recorded no volatile organic compound reading," she said. The minister added that she did not wear a mask during the site visit as she wanted the public to be confident that it was safe.
"I must first show that it's safe by not wearing a mask. If it's not safe, I will be the first to be affected."
She added that the chemical waste was being transported in stages to the disposal site, and is expected to complete by Thursday.
Malaysian police have arrested nine people over the illegal dumping of chemical waste into Sungai Kim Kim.
The pollution caused a wave of poisoning cases in Pasir Gudang, also causing 111 schools in the area to be ordered shut by the education ministry.
Earlier in the day, Education Minister Maszlee Malik said that all schools in Pasir Gudang will remain closed until the end of mid-term break on Mar 30.