JOHOR BARU: Factory workers or enforcement officers who work in Pasir Gudang are urged to be extra cautious with their surroundings, especially if they are dealing with chemicals.
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) Science Faculty dean Prof Abdull Rahim Mohd Yusoff said safety should always be the top priority when the work involved direct contact with chemicals.
“There are people who deal with chemicals daily and feel comfortable with them and are not aware of the hazards that they and the environment are exposed to.
“In my view, all industries already have a good safety system, but it is the workers’ responsibility to abide by the safety policy.
“For example, waste disposal is one of the main issues in industries and if this is not handled properly, it will create an environmental disaster,” he said in an interview here yesterday.
Prof Abdull Rahim pointed out that although some of the industries in Pasir Gudang were equipped with an online system, there were a lot of loopholes.
“Nowadays, local authorities only send their reports online to the enforcement authority – the Department of Environment – when they should go to the ground and make sure the reports are accurate,” he said.
He suggested the setting up a centralised system for all industries in Pasir Gudang so that each time there was a gas leak, the source could easily be identified.
“Having a baseline indicator and standard chemical indicator are also urgently needed in Pasir Gudang for the public to know the safe levels of chemicals in the area,” he said.
Prof Abdull Rahim, who chairs the Sungai Kim Kim scientific committee set up by the state after the recent contamination in the river, reiterated the dire need to set up a buffer zone between the housing and industrial areas in Pasir Gudang.
“Some factories or houses might need to be moved in order to create this buffer zone.
“This is one of the long-term solutions that we have come up with. It takes time to implement and must be done in phases,” he said.
A low level of public awareness in caring for the environment was also one of the factors that contributed to the pollution in Pasir Gudang, he added.
“It’s common to find the public carrying out open burning of materials such as plastic and polystyrene.
“People don’t realise the risks until something bad happens. It’s always better to prevent disasters from happening; it’s not only for us but for the community as well,” he said.
Did you find this article insightful?