Authorities set on finding Sungai Kim Kim polluter, says deputy minister

Firemen from the Johor Fire and Rescue Department had taken immediate action to contain the chemicals along Sungai Kim Kim with an oil boom. — Picture courtesy of the Johor Fire and Rescue Department
Firemen from the Johor Fire and Rescue Department had taken immediate action to contain the chemicals along Sungai Kim Kim with an oil boom. — Picture courtesy of the Johor Fire and Rescue Department

JOHOR BARU, March 9 — The Department of Environment (DOE) and Johor Department of Chemistry will use three methods to track down the guilty party behind the dumping of hazardous waste in Sungai Kim Kim on March 6 which has caused 79 people to fall sick.

Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC) deputy minister, Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis, told reporters today the “morphological digital characteristics” assessment will determine if the waste was liquid, gas or powder.

“Then, we’ll do ‘fingerprinting’ which will nose out the unique elements of the material to establish identity.

“Apart from this, there’s the ‘profiling’ of the material which will lay bare the supply chain from the manufacturer to the buyer of the waste, and get us closer to the wrongdoer,” she said after attending a briefing on the case.

Isnaraissah said the matter is of grave concern to MESTECC because the wicked and irresponsible act has not just caused environmental contamination and harmed river life, but threatened the safety and health of human beings.

She said MESTECC is investigating the incident under the Environmental Quality Act 1974.

“We will not compromise (on the matter) with parties who are self-centred, putting people at risk and poisoning river life just for profit,” she said.

She said the ministry has a hunch the suspects come from two sectors in Pasir Gudang — shipping and 30 chemical plants in the area.

She said the ministry is working with the police and Johor Port to find the chemical tanker and ship involved, adding “we are poring over closed-circuit television recordings from every traffic light and road in Pasir Gudang leading to Sungai Kim Kim because we think the waste originates from an area around Pasir Gudang”.

Aside from this, Isnaraissah told reporters a clean-up of the length of Sungai Kim Kim will be done soon and take five days. — Bernama