DOE suspects factory waste behind toxic fumes at river

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 10 Mar 2019

PASIR GUDANG: The Department of Environ­ment (DOE) is facing a daunting task of identifying the culprit behind the chemical waste dump in Sungai Kim Kim here, which led to 79 people being treated after breathing in hazardous fumes.

The department believes that the waste might have come from some 30 factories located within the industrial area.

Deputy Energy, Technology, Science, Climate Change and Environment Minister Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis said this was the conclusion made based on the chemical samples collected by the DOE from the river.

“The chemical we found is in the form of thick black oil that comes from the dislodging activities of a ship or a chemical factory, one of the major industries here,” she said.

Isnaraissah said this after a meeting with the DOE at the Pasir Gudang Municipal Council office here yesterday.

The DOE, she said, was currently carrying out morphological characteristic analysis, finger printing and substance profiling to identify the culprit.

The state Education Department has decided that SK Taman Pasir Putih and SM Taman Pasir Putih will continue to be closed today to allow for cleaning works.

The two schools are expected to open tomorrow.

State Health, Environment and Agriculture Committee chairman Dr Sahruddin Jamal said 79 cases were recorded since the incident on Thursday.

“We expect the clean-up to start in two days, covering a 1.3km stretch of Sungai Kim Kim. Although the location has been cleaned up, we still need to secure the surrounding area,” he said.

Johor police chief Comm Datuk Mohd Khalil Kader Mohd said residents and family members of those affected by the fumes had lodged five police reports at the Seri Alam police district headquarters.

“Whoever is responsible has total disregard towards the safety of the community and the environment,” he said.

Comm Mohd Khalil urged those with information or who had seen any suspicious vehicle near the location to immediately contact its hotline at 07-2212 999 or lodge a report.

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