PASIR GUDANG: A foul smell which permeated the air at Sungai Kim Kim here has sparked fears among residents of a repeat of the pollution incident that broke out two years ago.Housewife Noraini Mahmood, 42, who lives near the river, said that while the pollution found in the river this time was not from toxic waste like what had happened March 2019, she is still worried about its impact to the health of people living in the area.
“This is not the first time we smelt something strange from the river, but this time it is very concerning as we also saw the water turn black.
“Although we could tell that it was very different from the stench two years ago, it is still very worrying and equally unpleasant,” she said when met at Kampung Bukit Pulai here.
The mother of four said that she experienced a foul smell on Wednesday evening and thought that it came from her house.
“I went all over the house but found nothing.
“Then my 11-year-old son noticed that the colour of the river turned darker. I went outside and I was surprised at the drastic colour change,” she added.
Another resident Noorma M. Noor, 54, said that she noticed the smell at around 6pm on the same day as well and reported the matter to Tebrau MP Steven Choong.
She said the MP’s officers then reported the matter to the Environment Department (DOE) staff who came a few hours later to investigate.
“We were told that the pollution is believed to have come from a sewage plant nearby,” she said.
“I hope that the authorities will look into this matter seriously and monitor the river regularly as we do not want a repeat of the 2019 incident.”
Noorma, a housewife, said the foul smell and the dark river colour stayed on for several days.
However, she said they were gone following heavy rain yesterday.
State health and environment committee chairman R. Vidyananthan said that the DOE conducted an investigation at Sungai Kim Kim following complaints from the public about a foul smell coming from the river around Kampung Bukit Pulai in Pasir Gudang.
“DOE personnel went to the scene at about 10pm on Wednesday. They checked the surrounding areas and suspected that the pollution was caused by waste being dumped from a non-industrial building,” he said in a statement here.
He added that the waste came from maintenance work carried out in the building, which caused untreated waste to flow into the nearby river.
“On July 29, those involved in the work were told to stop maintenance works,” he said, adding that investigations were still on-going while drones had been deployed in the area.
Vidyananthan said water samples had been sent to the Chemistry Department.
In March 2019, toxic pollution in Sungai Kim Kim resulted in over 4,000 people falling ill, while 111 schools in Pasir Gudang district were temporarily closed.
The district was again hit with a similar pollution three months later, which also caused dozens to fall sick and saw another temporary closure of schools.