Water Minister dismisses claims of toxic waste pollution recurring at Sg Kim Kim

PASIR GUDANG: Sungai Kim Kim is not polluted with toxic waste again, says Environment and Water Minister Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man.

He stressed that samples from the river showed that the dissolved oxygen (DO) level is between 3.5 and 3.8mg/L while the pH reading was 8.2, indicating normal levels.

“The reading from the water samples is not at a dangerous level, ” he said after a working visit at Sungai Kim Kim here on Tuesday (March 9).

A report in a Bahasa Malaysia daily on Monday claimed that the river had been polluted with toxic waste in a more serious recurrence of the incident on March 7,2019.

He added that the ministry wished to clarify that, based on initial investigations by the Johor Department of Environment (DoE), the pollution this time around was caused by waste water from nearby premises.

“The pollution does not come from scheduled waste as what happened two years ago, ” he said, adding that the state DoE would continue to monitor the river.

Tuan Ibrahim said the DoE, led by its state director, checked the river near Kampung Bukit Pulai at around 10.30am on Monday.

“When the team arrived, black patches that were reported were no longer visible and no smell was apparent," he said, adding that the authorities sent up drones that did sight some patches on the water.

"DoE enforcement went along the river to find anything that led to the pollution, ” he said.

Tuan Ibrahim said the ministry, state government, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) and private sector representatives jwere building a river trail along Sungai Kim Kim.

The trail would encourage the local community and surrounding industries to be more responsible in taking care of Sungai Kim Kim.

On March 7,2019, several students and teachers in nearby schools experienced nausea, dizziness and vomiting after they were believed to have inhaled toxic fumes caused by chemicals dumped into Sungai Kim Kim.

The pollution resulted in the temporary closure of 111 schools in the Pasir Gudang area, affecting several industries and the community in the area for about two weeks.

On an unrelated matter, Tuan Ibrahim, who is also PAS deputy president, said he did not discuss politics with Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad.

He added that only two things were touched upon during his courtesy visit to Hasni, who is also state Umno and Barisan Nasional chief, at the Mentri Besar's Office in Kota Iskandar on Tuesday morning.

These were the ministry's responsibility concerning the sewerage system under the purview of the Johor Baru City Council (MBJB) and Pasir Gudang City Council (MBPG); and open burning during the hot and dry spell, particularly with Johor's numerous peat sol areas, he said.

"We did not talk about politics or seat allocations, ” he added.

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