Some residents leave pollution-hit Pasir Gudang

The scene where about 100 school students, believed to have breathing difficulties after inhaling fumes, being temporarily placed for health monitoring at the Taman Pasir Putih multipurpose hall in Pasir Gudang today. — Picture by Ben Tan
The scene where about 100 school students, believed to have breathing difficulties after inhaling fumes, being temporarily placed for health monitoring at the Taman Pasir Putih multipurpose hall in Pasir Gudang today. — Picture by Ben Tan

JOHOR BARU, March 14 — Concerned about the toxic chemical waste pollution, several residents of Pasir Gudang have begun to shift temporarily elsewhere.

Bernama talked to members of at least two families which have decided to stay away from the area where the inhalation of fumes from the toxic chemical waste dumped into Sungai Kim Kim sent over 900 people to hospital.

One of them is Mahirah Ahmad Helmi, 32, who has taken her two children, aged three years and five months, to stay at her father-in-law’s house in Kempas here.

The teacher of Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Kota Masai 2 said her elder child has been coughing over the past few days and her younger suffered from sore eyes, and she had taken the children for treatment at the Sultan Ismail Hospital.

“From today, I will stay temporarily at my father-in-law’s house. In fact, from yesterday, all my neighbours started leaving because they feel that their lives are under threat,” said the resident of Taman Kota Masai.

Mahirah said she hoped that Sungai Kim Kim will be cleaned up immediately to prevent the situation from worsening.

Abdul Rahim Abdul Rahman, 47, who resides in Taman Bukit Dahlia, said he checked his three children into a hotel in this city last night.

The schools are closed and the children cannot attend classes anyway, he said.

The Education Ministry yesterday ordered the indefinite closure of all the 111 schools in Pasir Gudang.

The chemical waste dumped into Sungai Kim Kim released toxic fumes into the air which started affecting the people, many of them schoolchildren, since March 7.

So far, 947 people have sought treatment at the Sultan Ismail Hospital, nine of them in intensive care. — Bernama