10 Pasir Gudang factories taken to task for various environmental wrongs, says Johor exco

Johor Health, Culture and Heritage Committee chairman Mohd Khuzzan Abu Bakar said a total of 34 premises in Pasir Gudang were inspected during the operation. — Picture by Ben Tan
Johor Health, Culture and Heritage Committee chairman Mohd Khuzzan Abu Bakar said a total of 34 premises in Pasir Gudang were inspected during the operation. — Picture by Ben Tan

PASIR GUDANG, July 3 — The authorities have taken action against ten factories, with six premises being issued compounds, two ordered closed and another two served with court action during an integrated operation held yesterday night, said Johor Health, Culture and Heritage Committee chairman Mohd Khuzzan Abu Bakar.

He said a total of 34 premises in Pasir Gudang were inspected during the operation.

“In addition to that, all 34 premises also received notices to comply with all environmental legislation, especially in dealing with odour problems and any gas emissions into the air,” said Mohd Khuzzan during a press conference at the Pasir Gudang Municipal Council building in Menara Aqabah here.

Also present were Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin and State Local Government, Urban Wellbeing and Environment Committee chairman Tan Chen Choon.

The integrated operations, personally attended by Mohd Khuzzan, saw the participation of officers from the Department of Environment (DoE), including the Fire and Rescue Department, Health Department, the police, the National Disaster Management Agency, the Department of Occupational Safety and Health, Chemistry Department, and the Pasir Gudang Municipal Council.

Overall, Mohd Khuzzan said the on-going monitoring has seen DoE take action and investigated a total of 153 industrial premises for offenses under the Environmental Quality Act 1974.

“Action has been taken against the premises for offenses such as discharging of scheduled wastes where 73 compounds were issued, discharging of industrial effluents (10 compounds), compliance notices (11 notices) and stopping operations (seven industrial premises),” he said.

It was learnt that most of the premises that were issued compounds were involved in toxic chemicals and recycling waste.

Mohd Khuzzan added that since yesterday, 100 schools were monitored and most of the readings were normal.

“However, 38 students from nine schools were reported with symptoms, but there were no admissions to hospitals,” he said.

Mohd Khuzzan said the Health Ministry’s Psychological First Aid team will continue to provide psychological support services in affected schools.

Since June 20, more than 700 students and adults have sought treatment after falling ill in the area.

Yeo said that proper air quality readings from gas detectors should also be done to support the theory of chemical waste being buried in the soil as a source of recurrent air pollution.

“We have been monitoring for air quality readings in 100 schools that have had air pollution symptoms today, but still have not found any scientific evidence linking the presence of any gas and symptoms that affect the students,” she said.