As Putrajaya scrutinises factories, Johor targets birds for Pasir Gudang air pollution

(From left) Johor health director Dr Selahuddeen Abd Aziz, state Education, Human Resources, Science and Technology Committee chairman Aminolhuda Hassan and also Health, Culture, and Heritage Committee chairman Mohd Khuzzan Abu Bakar inspecting the bird
(From left) Johor health director Dr Selahuddeen Abd Aziz, state Education, Human Resources, Science and Technology Committee chairman Aminolhuda Hassan and also Health, Culture, and Heritage Committee chairman Mohd Khuzzan Abu Bakar inspecting the bird

PASIR GUDANG, July 23 — Bird droppings found on the upper floors of SK Tanjung Puteri Resort here could be one of the pollutants causing students and staff to fall sick and suffer breathing problems, Johor executive councillor Mohd Khuzzan Abu Bakar said today.

The state health, culture, and heritage committee chairman said the state government is not ruling out the birds and other hygiene issues at the school for the spate of health problems in the industrial district.

“This is one of the contributing factors that may have triggered symptoms of breathing difficulties and vomiting among the students,” he said, pointing to the bird droppings covering the floor of some of the unused classrooms at the school’s upper storeys.

“It’s not certain that there is no air pollution caused by gas, but the state government is also looking at this possibility,” Mohd Khuzzan added.

He had earlier visited the school together with the state Education, Human Resources, Science and Technology Committee chairman Aminolhuda Hassan and state health director Dr Selahuddeen Abd Aziz where the upper storey classrooms have been opened to students since Sunday.

Mohd Khuzzan said the state government will look into cleanliness aspects of the respective classrooms to deal with the bird droppings.

Aminolhuda said that the Education Ministry has been alerted on the situation in the school, adding that cleaners will be sent soon to get rid of the bird faeces and their nests built into the roof and eaves.

Nine new cases of breathing problems were reported at Pasir Gudang schools yesterday. 

The incident is the latest following two separate waves in March and last month, which have been blamed on toxic gases released by chemical factories in the district. 

Eight of them were students while one was a teacher. All nine were from SK Tanjung Puteri Resort, SK Kopok, SK Taman Rinting 3 and Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Pasir Gudang.

They received outpatient treatment for their problems.

The federal government has noted the overcrowding of factories there and the lack of a buffer zone to separate the industrial plants from the residential, commercial, and social activity centres in Pasir Gudang for the illnesses caused by air pollutants.

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