46 more potential sources of pollution in Pasir Gudang (Updated)

20 Mar 2019 / 19:51 H.

ISKANDAR PUTRI: In the aftermath of the Sungai Kim Kim incident, 46 more potential sources of pollution have been identified in the Pasir Gudang district, according to Energy, Technology, Science, Climate Change and Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin.

She said these locations were identified via satellite data and aerial surveillance using drones while tackling the Sungai Kim Kim incident, where toxic chemical waste dumped into the river led to serious air pollution from March 17 that affected the health of more than 3,000 people, with about 50 hospitalised, some in the intensive care unit.

According to the latest reports, only two patients are still in the ICU but in stable condition.

“As for these 46 locations, I do not as yet have accurate figures on whether they are meant for disposal of domestic waste or scheduled waste,“ she told the media at the Main Conference Room, Bangunan Dato Jaafar Muhamad in Kota Iskandar, here today.

Yeo, however, confirmed that none of these sites contributed to the Sungai Kim Kim incident.

“There was only once source of gas poisoning, that is Sungai Kim Kim,“ she said.

Elaborating further, Yeo said her ministry would be forming an evaluation committee to look into river pollution not only in Pasir Gudang but at all industrial zones in the country.

“What is being done here, will be extended to other industrial zones in Malaysia. What we learnt from this incident is that we have to tighten the standard operating procedures to protect the environment,“ she said.

It was also important to strengthen the machinery of agencies under the ministry for better enforcement, she added.

Yeo also said that the government would be amending the Environmental Quality Act 1974 towards ensuring that there were no repeats of the Sungai Kim Kim incident and those found dumping chemical wastes illegally were severely punished.

She said stakeholder engagements would be held first and expected the amendments to be tabled in Parliament by year end.

In JOHOR BARU, Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said her ministry would be reviewing all applications for and renewal of licences of factories that are involved in the use of or disposal of chemical wastes to avoid a repeat of the Pasir Gudang incident.

She said the findings of the review would be tabled to the Cabinet once the ministry gets the necessary feedback form the Pasir Gudang Municipal Council and the Department of Environment on the incident.

She told this to reporters after making a visit to the Medic Base and and Fire and Rescue Department operations room that were set up at the Pasir Gudang Indoor Stadium to handle the crisis.

She also praised the agencies and all involved for their efficiency in tackling the crisis. — Bernama

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