PUTRAJAYA, May 2 — The Energy, Science, Technology, Climate Change and Environment Ministry (MESTECC) has appointed a new director for the Johor Department of Environment (DoE) to strengthen the department’s machinery to address river pollution in the state.
Its minister Yeo Bee Yin said efforts were being made to save 20 rivers in the state, which were classified as polluted, to avoid a similar incident that happened at Sungai Kim Kim in Pasir Gudang.
“We have appointed one of the best people at the (DoE) headquarters to be the Johor DoE director, who will be entrusted to enhance enforcement in the industrial areas in Johor.
“The Pasir Gudang industrial area is a developing area, so we want to regulate the amount of chemical waste from the factories,” she said in an interview in conjunction with Pakatan Harapan’s first anniversary as the government.
Without revealing the name of the new director, she said the new director would be given two years to improve the river situation in the state.
Based on the 2017 Environmental Quality Report, 32 rivers are classified as polluted, out of the 417 rivers monitored by DOE nationwide.
Yeo, who is Bakri Member of Parliament, said the new director would start work in a few weeks.
The chemical dumping in Sungai Kim Kim, which occurred recently, affected the health of thousands of residents and also forced 111 schools in Pasir Gudang to be closed.
Meanwhile, Yeo said the ministry was in the process of formulating a new law on environmental protection to replace the existing one.
“Formulation of the new law is aimed at strengthening DoE’s role and in keeping abreast with latest developments in environmental management and issues,” she added.
She said a Bill on the proposed law would be tabled before end of the year. — Bernama