JOHOR BARU: A task force must be formed to check all chemical factories and rivers in Pasir Gudang, to prevent a repeat of the Sungai Kim Kim chemical waste pollution incident, said Pasir Gudang MP Hassan Abdul Karim.
He said all parties, including the public, private sector and the government must work together to combat illegal dumping of chemicals.
“We can have laws in place but if they are not enforced, then they are useless.
“We need a task force to constantly monitor our waterways to ensure they are free of pollution.
‘We also must have a standard operating procedure (SOP) when it comes to checking factories dealing with chemicals, and action must be taken against those which are not licensed,” he said after launching an environment-based NGO known as Persatuan Dinamik Aktif Lindungi Alam Johor (Dalia) here.
This chemical waste pollution was detected on March 6, in the area below a bridge in Sungai Kim Kim.
Thousands of people including children in Pasir Gudang were affected, forcing the government to close 111 schools in the area.
Most sought treatment for respiratory problems.
The incident shocked the nation as it occurred in one of Johor’s biggest industrial towns, with a population of a few hundred thousand people.
There are 700 big and small factories in the area, which also houses two sea ports – Johor Port and Tanjung Langsat.
Hassan, who is also Johor PKR chief, said after the clean-up there were no more reports of people falling ill.
On Dalia’s role, he said such organisations were important to spread awareness on the importance of caring and maintaining the environment, especially after Sungai Kim Kim incident.
“We need to expand such organisations to all parts of Johor,” he said.
Dalia president and founder Fauziah Mokhtar said the association hoped to spread awareness on environmental conservation to both the young and old.
“We will have programmes for children and adults as we need everyone’s help to save our environment,” said Fauziah who is also Pontian municipal councillor.