JOHOR BARU, March 14 — A total of 2.43 tonnes of chemical waste was collected by the relevant agencies from Sungai Kim Kim in Pasir Gudang on the first day the dumping of chemical waste into the river was reported last Thursday.

Johor Health, Environment and Agriculture Committee chairman Dr Sahruddin Jamal said the chemical waste collection work began from the morning until 11 pm on that day.

Hence, he said there was no issue of the state government and the relevant agencies being late in responding to the incident.

“The authorities received the report on the dumping of chemical waste into the river at 5.15 am and immediate response was given, especially by the state Fire and Rescue Department,

“At 9.30 am, the exact dumping site was located and early cleaning work commenced almost immediately involving several government agencies at the location,” he told reporters at the State Disaster Management Committee Operation Centre here today.

Dr Sahruddin said on the following day (March 8), the cleaning work had to be stopped following a notification from the Department of Environment (DoE) saying that the chemical waste was hazardous and the cleaning work should be done according to the safety regulations.

“However, the cleaning work resumed yesterday and was undertaken by the appointed cleaning contractor,” he said.

Dr Sahruddin said from the first day of the incident until 8 pm yesterday, 947 civilians had sought medical treatment for shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting.

They include 82 currently warded at the Sultan Ismail Hospital, 85 at Sultanah Aminah Hospital, 39 at Pasir Gudang KPJ Hospital and three at the Regency Hospital. — Bernama