SINGAPORE: Authorities in Singapore are monitoring the situation in Pasir Gudang, as more illegal waste dumping sites have been found in the area.
One of the new dumping sites found this week is along Johor's Sungai Masai, which empties into the Johor Strait opposite Singapore's northern coast, near Yishun.
The air and water quality in Singapore, as well as the water supply, remain unaffected by the latest developments, said the National Environment Agency (NEA), Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore, Singapore's water agency PUB and the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) in a joint statement on Tuesday (Mar 19).
In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam described the illegal chemical waste dumping as "an irresponsible act".
"We take this very seriously. What happens in Malaysia can affect us significantly," said Mr Shanmugam, who is also a Member of Parliament for Nee Soon GRC.
The minister said Singapore agencies have been conducting regular checks: SCDF has found no toxic chemicals in the air, and PUB and AVA have been testing water quality in the parts of Singapore waters near Pasir Gudang.
"We will continue to work with our Malaysian counterparts to monitor the situation," he said.
"There are no significant variations in NEA and PUB’s monitored water quality in our local waterways and reservoirs in North and North-eastern Singapore," said the authorities.
"The waters of our recreational coastal beaches and the Straits of Johor; as well as in AVA’s observations of the health of fish in our local fish farms located along the Straits of Johor."
Ambient levels of volatile organic compounds (VOC), including benzene, measured at the VOC monitoring stations in the North-eastern region, remain within safe levels, according to the press release.
The 24-hour Pollutant Standards Index since Mar 6, remains in the good to low-moderate range, while the 1-hour PM2.5 readings remain in Band I (Normal).
Thousands of people fell ill earlier in March, after toxic waste pollution in Pasir Gudang was first reported on Mar 7. All 111 schools in Pasir Gudang were ordered shut amid the growing environmental issue.
On Tuesday, Malaysia's Minister of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Yeo Bee Yin declared that the polluted river at Pasir Gudang is now clean and safe. However, new sites believed to be chemical waste dumping grounds have been found in Pasir Gudang.