By Nizam Zain
PUTRAJAYA – The Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change had traced the presence of methyl mercaptan in the atmosphere of Pasir Gudang, Johor.
Its minister, Yeo Bee Yin said that the presence of that gas is an anomaly. Due to the saturated atmospheric environment in the Pasir Gudang district, such an anomaly will have an effect on high-risk groups such as children and people suffering from asthma.
Besides methyl mercaptan, they also found acrylonitrile and acrolein in Pasir Gudang, which were the similar gas found during the air pollution in Sungai Kim Kim three months ago.
“Nevertheless, all three gasses were not found in the blood and urine samples of the patients,” she said in a joint press conference with the Minister of Health, Datuk Seri Dr. Dzulkefly Ahmad at the Health Ministry today.
On 20 June, 14 students and two adults from Sekolah Agama Taman Mawar (SATM) and 13 students from Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Pasir Gudang (4) suffered breathing difficulty, nausea and vomiting believed to have inhaled the polluted air from the environment.
Four days later, students from eight more schools in that district were reported to suffer from the same condition.
The latest toxic air pollution took place merely three months after the Sungai Kim Kim was polluted with toxic waste which affected 6,000 residents.
Currently, Pasir Gudang has 2,005 licensed factories and 250 of them are chemical based.
She also said that the ministry has taken immediate actions, including enforcement and monitoring works on all chemical based companies.
According to her, the recent air pollution in Pasir Gudang was caused by non-sustainable development of the area which has given a negative long-term impact towards the environment.
“Some high-risk factories have no physical buffer zone from residential areas and schools. Some schools are only 300m away from the high-risk industries. Buffers will be put in place as soon as possible for schools in high-risk areas,” she said. -MalaysiaGazette