KUALA LUMPUR: The government must be prepared to deal with all kind of situations when they clean up the contaminated Sungai Kim Kim in Pasir Gudang, Johor.
Energy, Technology, Science, Environment and Climate Minister Yeo Bee Yin said there are still several unknown factors about the toxic chemical waste that was disposed into the river.
She told the Parliament sitting here that it will take them a few days to find out about these unknown factors.
“We are constantly monitoring the air quality because the waste that was disposed was a volatile organic compound which can be vaporised easily.
“When cleaning up the river, we must be aware of the rate of vapourisation to ensure the safety of the clean up crew and the people living around the area.
“We must also take into consideration the wind factor as it can affect the directions of the contaminants,“ she added.
Yeo said the clean up crew is also being informed about the rate of vapourisation and if it is too fast they will be asked to slow down their work.
She expects the clean up to take seven days and the state government intends to speed up the process by appointing more contractors. At present only one contractor has been appointed and another three are in the process of joining in the effort.
She also urged those entrusted with storing scheduled waste to not simply panic or to just dispose it, adding that if companies attempt to dispose their waste indiscriminately, it will add to the present problem.
She said getting caught with scheduled waste is not as serious as illegally dumping it.
On the school closures, Yeo said the decision to close 111 schools was a precautionary measure.
“The ministry is not looking at according blame now. We are more interested in cleaning up the river and ensuring public safety.”