KOTA BARU, March 15 — The Hazardous Materials Unit (Hazmat) of the Fire and Rescue Department of Malaysia (JBPM) has stationed 133 personnel at the polluted area in Pasir Gudang, Johor, to monitor air quality and to advise the state disaster management committee accordingly.
JBPM director-general Datuk Mohammad Hamdan Wahid said they had been stationed at the location since March 7, the first day the dumping of chemical waste into Sungai Kim Kim in Pasir Gudang was reported.
He said the team consisted of personnel from several states, including Kuala Lumpur, Melaka and Perak and were being led by the Johor JBPM director (Datuk Yahaya Madis).
“They have the expertise in handling hazardous materials and have brought the necessary equipment so that they could work with other agencies that have also been assigned there.
“This is because toxic fumes are hazardous. We believe that if the chemical waste is not removed, it can harm public health,” he told reporters after the presentation of JBPM’s Excellence Service Award 2018 here today. Also present was the Kelantan JBPM Director, Nazili Mahmood.
More than 1,000 people were reported to have sought medical attention after inhaling toxic fumes emanating from the chemical waste.
Mohammad Hamdan said the chemical pollution in Sungai Kim Kim would be controlled as best as it could with the cooperation of the various agencies that have been tasked in tackling the issue.
“JBPM actually has two Hazmat posts in the area that operate as disaster control centres,” he said.
Meanwhile, he said that the department’s 16 fire control operations centres were all set to deal with and prevent forest fires in the current hot and dry weather.
“Some states have received reports of forest and peat fires including in the Klang Valley, Perak, Melaka, Kedah, Pahang, Kelantan and Johor.
“We advise the public not to carry out open burning because it can cause massive harm to the country,” he added. — Bernama