Air quality good over Pasir Gudang but public advised to continue to use masks

A woman is assisted into the Pasir Gudang Municipal Council Stadium medic base for treatment March 16, 2019. — Bernama pic
A woman is assisted into the Pasir Gudang Municipal Council Stadium medic base for treatment March 16, 2019. — Bernama pic

JOHOR BARU, March 16 — The air quality over Pasir Gudang has been deemed to be safe for now but the agencies involved in “Ops Kim Kim” are continuing monitoring round the clock.

Johor Fire and Rescue Department director Datuk Yahaya Madis said that based on the samplings done today, there were no readings over 3 parts per million (ppm) for dangerous gases (3 ppm is the danger level).

“Even though the situation is safe, the public is advised to continue using face masks as a precaution. We fear there may be release of toxic gases while the cleaning up work is being carried out at the river where toxic waste was dumped,” he told a press conference at the department’s command and control centre at the Pasir Gudang Indoor Stadium here.

He said precautions were still necessary due to detection of hydrogen cyanide at above 4.5 ppm at a house in Tanjung Puteri on March 15.

However, he said the dangerous gas dissipated quickly as a second sampling done in an hour showed.

He added that the department was also acting as a “safety advisor” to the teams doing the cleaning up work.

Pasir Gudang plunged into a crisis after toxic waste dumped in Sungai Kim Kim there caused severe air pollution, leaving the health of more than 3,000 people affected with some requiring hospitalisation while more than 100 schools in the district still remain closed. 

In Sabah, air quality over Kota Kinabalu and Kimanis were recorded to be at the unhealthy level as at noon today.

According to the Department of Environment’s website, the Air Pollutants Index (API) reading for the state capital was 141 as compared to 60 yesterday.

For Kimanis, it was 78 yesterday but the API reading at noon was 116.

The Sandakan and Keningau districts are facing moderate air quality with the API readings at 54 and 69 respectively.

The country is currently facing a hot and dry spell with forest fires breaking out and the public has been reminded not to conduct open burning.

As per the API, readings of 0-50 indicate good air quality; 51-100 (moderate); 101-200 (unhealthy); 201-300 (very unhealthy); >300 (hazardous). — Bernama