JOHOR BAHRU: Malaysian authorities sealed off three illegal factories in Pasir Gudang after a raid on Thursday (Jul 11), following recent pollution and health issues in the area.
Johor Department of Environment director Wan Abdul Latiff Wan Jaafar said a stop-work order has been ordered for the plants, and equipment confiscated from one of them. Utilities company Tenaga Nasional has also cut off power supply to the factories.
“One factory was believed to be recycling used items such as plastics and oil. Another was dealing with metals and the third was separating solid wastes,” said Wan Abdul Latiff.
A total of 248 factories were inspected by authorities during the operation targeted at illegal factories on Thursday.
During the raid, 125 compounds were issued for disposal of scheduled waste, 10 for industrial effluents and one for sewage plant, said Wan Abdul Latiff.
“We will continue to conduct as many (checks on factories) as possible. I want to do more (than 250 factories),” said Wan Abdul Latiff.
The Malaysian government has pledged to shut down all illegal factories in Pasir Gudang.
READ: Pasir Gudang pollution: Students from 4 schools fall ill; Johor looks to relocate high-risk chemical factories
Speaking in parliament on Jul 4, Minister of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Yeo Bee Yin said: "In a month’s time, we will have an integrated operation to shut down all illegal factories in Pasir Gudang.”
"I call on Members of Parliament and people in Pasir Gudang to report to the Department of Environment any information they have about illegal factories. We will go and close them down," she added.
Since Jun 20, more than 1,000 schoolchildren in Pasir Gudang have experienced breathing problems and nausea. Malaysian authorities are still trying to determine the source of the pollution.
All schools in the area were ordered to close from Jun 25 for three days, but students displayed similar symptoms hours after the schools reopened.
On Sunday, at least 11 students at four Pasir Gudang schools were reported to have suffered headaches, nausea and vomiting.