Plant employee still in ICU

  • Nation
  • Monday, 19 Sep 2016

Homemaker Lim Siew Wah showing her wilted potato leaves during the protest against the chemical plant.

IPOH: A worker of a chemical plant in Menglembu where a gas leak occurred remains at the intensive care unit (ICU) of the Raja Permai­suri Bainun Hospital here.

State Health director Datuk Dr Juita Ghazalie said the worker suffer­ed from lung inflammation as a result of chlorine gas inhalation on Saturday.

“He is on ventilator support. We have given him muscle relaxants to help him sleep.

“His other vital signs such as his blood pressure level and pulse rate are normal,” she said, adding that the worker was getting the best of care at the ICU.

Another patient, a Fire and Rescue Department personnel who was deployed to the scene, was being treated at the general ward, she said.

“He is being kept at the hospital for observation but otherwise, his condition is stable,” she added.

At about 10am on Saturday, a leak, at the plant, which produces chemicals such as sodium hydroxide, hydrochloric acid and chloride, sent a stinging odour into the air.

State Health Committee chairman Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon had said that the leakage was from one of the tanks containing ferric acid.

According to him, the tank collapsed not long after the leakage and the acid spilled into a pool of bleach, producing chlorine gas from the chemical reaction.

The chlorine gas, he explained, was the reason why residents nearby faced the stinging smell in the air.

Residents living in Kampung Baru Bukit Merah opposite the chemical plant want the plant relocated.

Holding placards with their demands written on them, the residents said they were done putting up with the chemical plant, which they claimed posed a great danger to them due to its close proximity to their homes.

Housewife Lim Siew Wah, 50, who lives across the road from the chemical plant, said the leaves of the sweet ­potato plants she planted outside her house wilted four hours after the incident took place.

“I was angry that my plants died, but I’m also afraid, because after seeing the leaves turn brown like that, just imagine what the chlorine gas could have done to our bodies.

“It would be better for the factory to move to a place far from residential areas. We can’t afford to suffer another gas leakage like this again,” she said.

Bukit Merah residents committee member Wong Toong Chon, 49, said a chemical plant should not have been allowed to operate so close to the new village in the first place.

“I live just 500m away from the plant and I often smell the che­micals in the air every now and then.

“I want them to move because I’m worried for the well-being of my family,” he said, adding that his seven siblings and six children aged 12 to 22 lived at the new village.

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