Bird droppings cause of Pasir Gudang pollution? Health minister says Putrajaya sticking to lab findings

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad speaks to reporters after launching the ‘Kurangkan Gula, Hidup Sihat’ campaign in Subang Jaya July 25, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad speaks to reporters after launching the ‘Kurangkan Gula, Hidup Sihat’ campaign in Subang Jaya July 25, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

SUBANG JAYA, July 25 — Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad said the federal government is standing by its laboratory findings on the air pollution of Pasir Gudang that have jeopardised the health of residents, especially students in the Johor industrial district these past months.

He demurred from making a direct comment when asked about the Johor government’s assertion this week that bird droppings could be one of the pollutants that contributed to students and staff at several schools falling ill.

“We go back to the analysis and findings that we made based on laboratory findings and clinical signs and symptoms of patients.

“That is our view without us having to comment on the rights of anyone else in giving their perspective,” Dzulkefly told a press conference after launching the Kurangkan Gula, Hidup Sihat campaign at the Giant Hypermarket here today.

He said his ministry and the Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change are keeping a close watch on the situation and have provided regular updates.

The federal government 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.

However, as a preventive measure of the predicament faced in the district, Dzulkefly said the Cabinet has agreed to engage an independent expert committee to analyse and investigate the latest health cases in Pasir Gudang.

“We will then make comparisons of the findings between ours and the committee,” he said.

The minister expects the results will be known in about a month.

Eight students and one teacher from SK Tanjung Puteri Resort, SK Kopok, SK Taman Rinting 3 and Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Pasir Gudang outpatient treatment for their breathing problems last Monday.

On Tuesday, Johor executive councillor Mohd Khuzzan Abu Bakar claimed that bird droppings found on the upper floors of SK Tanjung Puteri Resort could be one of the pollutants causing students and staff to fall sick and suffer breathing problems.

Mohd Khuzzan, the Johor health, culture, and heritage committee chairman, said the state government does not rule out the birds and other hygiene issues at the school for the spate of health problems in the industrial district.

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