Authorities: No impact on Singapore air, water quality from Pasir Gudang toxic fumes

Up to 40 tonnes of chemical waste is believed to have been illegally dumped into Sungai Kim Kim a week ago. — Picture courtesy of the Johor Fire and Rescue Department
Up to 40 tonnes of chemical waste is believed to have been illegally dumped into Sungai Kim Kim a week ago. — Picture courtesy of the Johor Fire and Rescue Department

SINGAPORE, March 16 — The chemical spill at a river in Pasir Gudang in Johor has had no impact on Singapore’s water supply, nor have there been any anomalies detected in the local air and water quality, authorities here said.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), National Environment Agency (NEA), Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) and national water agency PUB said in a joint statement on Thursday (March 14) that they are closely monitoring the situation.

It was earlier reported by Malaysian media that 20 to 40 tonnes of chemical waste were believed to have been illegally dumped into the Kim Kim River a week ago.

SCDF, NEA and PUB said the affected area “is outside of the Johor River catchment and there is no impact on Singapore’s water supply”.

They added that they have not detected “any anomalies” in local air and water quality.

Similarly, for fish farms, the AVA has found no anomalies or fish mortality.

The NEA added that the 24-hr Pollutant Standards Index since March 6 has been in the Good to Low-Moderate range. The 1-hr PM2.5 readings remained in Band I (Normal).

There have been no elevated levels of benzene or other volatile organic compounds at air monitoring stations here as well, it said.

Seawater quality at Pulau Ubin, which is near the Pasir Gudang area, is also within normal levels, the statement added.

The authorities said they are in contact with their Malaysian counterparts for updates on the situation.

The Malaysian education ministry has shut down all schools in Pasir Gudang district until further notice due to the emission of toxic fumes.

As of Wednesday, 506 victims of toxic fumes had sought medical treatment, out of which nine were admitted into the intensive care unit, said Malaysia’s health ministry.

Separately, Johor Chief Minister Osman Sapian said on Wednesday that the toxic fumes situation was under control.

Osman added that there was no need to evacuate or move residents living along the river, pointing out that the various departments and agencies had contained the situation. ― TODAY