Pasir Gudang may have 46 dangerous dumpsites, says minister

Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin and Johor Health, Environment and Agriculture Committee chairman Dr Sahruddin Jamal look at a technical chart of Pasir Gudang. — Picture by Roysten Rueben
Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin and Johor Health, Environment and Agriculture Committee chairman Dr Sahruddin Jamal look at a technical chart of Pasir Gudang. — Picture by Roysten Rueben

ISKANDAR PUTERI, March 20 — Authorities have identified 46 potential hazardous illegal dumping sites in Pasir Gudang, minister Yeo Bee Yin said today.

The energy, science, technology, environment and climate change minister revealed that this was one of the findings by a scientific committee formed to look into the issue following the dumping of toxic chemical waste into Sungai Kim Kim.

“The committee had looked at the entire Pasir Gudang area to identify all possible illegal dumping locations.

“These locations have the potential to cause pollution based on the satellite data and drone images,” said Yeo during a press conference after holding a briefing session on the Sungai Kim Kim toxic fumes incident in Kota Iskandar here today.

Present was Johor Health, Environment and Agriculture Committee chairman Dr Sahruddin Jamal.

Yeo, who has been instrumental in the Pasir Gudang clean-up operations since last week, hoped that the Johor government together with the local authorities will take action by cleaning up the identified locations.

She said her ministry would soon provide a list for action.

However, Yeo said they have yet to identify if the locations were domestic waste or scheduled waste dumping locations.

On the recent discovery of an alleged waste dumpsite on the banks of Sungai Masai in Pasir Gudang, Yeo said the waste by the river and in Sungai Kim Kim were not connected and from different (chemical) components.

“The substance found in Sungai Masai does not emit poisonous gas and samples have been sent to the Chemistry Department for further analysis,” she added.

Yeo, who is also Bakri MP, said her ministry would strengthen enforcement on all agencies under them as a way to prevent future illegal dumping of waste.

“We will also be making amendments to the Environmental Quality Act 1974 where we will be getting views and feedback before proceeding.

“Once everything is in place, we will table it in Parliament before the end of this year,” she said.

Earlier today, it was reported that the authorities have closed the temporary treatment centre at the Pasir Gudang Municipal Council (MPPG) Indoor Stadium and the Disaster Management Committee operations centre in Menara Aqabah in Pasir Gudang as the situation continues to improve.

The toxic pollution in Sungai Kim Kim began on March 7 after a group of students were hospitalised from inhaling fumes emitted by the waste.

All 111 schools in Pasir Gudang have been closed until further notice.