Deputy minister denies toxic waste caused air pollution

Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis, deputy minister for the environment, said all the waste at Sungai Kim Kim had been cleared. (Bernama pic)

PASIR GUDANG: The environment ministry has disputed a Cabinet minister’s claim that a failure to clean up toxic waste at Sungai Kim Kim had caused chemical air pollution that led to the closure of schools in Pasir Gudang.

Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis, deputy minister of energy, science, technology, environment and climate change said the Pasir Gudang air pollution was different from the toxic waste pollution of Sungai Kim Kim in March.

Earlier today, Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin had said that a contractor responsible for cleaning up the river had left the waste exposed to the wind and rain, causing the current air pollution problem.

However Isnaraissah said two chemical compounds identified in the previous case were not detected in the air pollution at Pasir Gudang, according to NST Online. “Moreover, all the waste taken previously from Sungai Kim Kim had been disposed off by incineration by the appointed contractor on April 8,” Isnaraissah was quoted as saying.

She said the Environment Department was investigating 30 chemical factories which process the same chemical compound as the gas detected which led to the problems in Pasir Gudang.

“The department has narrowed down three chemical compounds which may have caused the problem. We will identify the exact compound within the next one or two days,” she said.