Pasir Gudang air quality is 'good', action taken against 38 factories: Johor state government

Pasir Gudang air quality is 'good', action taken against 38 factories: Johor state government

Pasir Gudang
Johor Fire and Rescue Department’s Hazmat team checking the air quality in Pasir Gudang on Jun 27, 2019. (Photo: Twitter/@AfifahCNA) 

PASIR GUDANG, Johor: The Johor state government said on Thursday (Jun 27) that air quality in Pasir Gudang is good, adding that enforcement actions have been taken against 38 industrial premises for violating the 1974 Environment Quality Act.

Speaking at a media conference, the state's Health, Culture and Heritage Committee chairman Mohd Khuzzan Abu Bakar said that air quality monitoring has been carried out. The air quality in Pasir Gudang, as of Thursday noon, was at a "good level", he added.

Among the enforcement actions taken include three instructions to halt operations, three notices, 10 compounds on industrial effluent and 27 compounds for factories that did not dispose their waste on schedule.

However, Mr Khuzzan did not elaborate on whether these infringements were related to the recent cases of dozens of school children in the area suffering from breathing difficulties and vomiting since last Thursday.

Mr Khuzzan added that there will be an announcement on Saturday on whether the schools will be reopened on Sunday.

He added that four people were still warded, with no new cases reported. The patients are aged between 13 and 17.

The exact cause of the cases, which subsequently forced schools to close for three days from Tuesday, has not been ascertained.

Laboratory tests on samples from eight patients for cyanide and volatile organic compound (VOC) have turned out negative.

READ: Pasir Gudang pollution: Residents call for better air quality monitoring, alert system

READ: Pasir Gudang to get air quality monitoring stations, cause of latest cases still unclear

On Wednesday, Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin said the Cabinet has decided to set up permanent air pollutant monitoring stations in Pasir Gudang. 

A buffer between the industrial areas and the schools and residential areas was also in the pipeline, she added.

Ms Yeo stressed that this latest incident is different from the Kim Kim River pollution in March, where thousands fell ill after an illegal dumping of chemical waste into the river in Pasir Gudang. Many were hospitalised, including students at nearby schools. 

More than 100 schools were ordered shut as a result. Nine people were later arrested.

Source: CNA/tx