JOHOR BARU: Another air pollution incident has resulted in 39 students from five schools in Pasir Gudang to vomit and have breathing difficulties.
The incident happened on Thursday just as the state Department of Environment (DoE) announced it would take action against 18 illegal chemical factories operating in the area.
Johor Health, Culture and Heritage Committee chairman Mohd Khuzzan Abu Bakar said the five schools were SK Tanjung Puteri Resort (30 students), SK Kopok (six), and one student each from SK Kota Masai, SK Pasir Gudang 4 and SMK Tanjung Puteri Resort.
“All of (the affected students) received treatment at the Pasir Gudang health clinic and Masai health clinic.
“None of them were referred to Sultan Ismail Hospital for further treatment,” he said in a statement yesterday.
Khuzzan said officers from the Health Department also took urine samples from the students for analysis.
He stressed that the state government had never treated the air pollution episodes lightly, as alleged
by certain quarters.
“Until now, all agencies involved are continuously monitoring the situation, including the air quality in the area.
“In fact, I have been informed that the DoE will reward those who are able to provide information on the pollution in Pasir Gudang,” he added.
On Thursday, state DoE director-general Norlin Jaafar said action had been taken against three factories in a series of joint operations with other agencies.
On their operations, Norlin said the DoE officers had checked 257 registered chemical factories.
The three companies, located within a 3km-radius of two schools, were found to be emitting high levels of methyl mercaptan, acrolein and acrylonitrile, all of them toxic gases.
On the 257 factories inspected, she said at least 12 stop-work orders were issued along with 60 notices and 136 compounds totalling RM270,000.
Norlin urged the public to forward any information on the pollution to the DoE as it was offering a reward of RM5,000 for genuine leads.