Toxic waste at Sungai Kim Kim caused Pasir Gudang pollution

Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said the hazardous materials were exposed to wind and rain.

PUTRAJAYA: The recent incident in which schoolchildren in Pasir Gudang, Johor suffered breathing difficulties, was due to chemical waste from Sungai Kim Kim, said Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin.

She said an initial investigation found that the contractor assigned to clear the waste did not do a thorough job in clearing the hazardous materials.

“As the hazardous materials have been exposed to wind and rain, the uncontrolled airborne substances may have spread and affected people once again,” Zuraida told reporters here today.

According to media reports, the Johor government had instructed 17 schools, 69 kindergartens and preschools and a college to be closed for four days beginning today. The closures affect 20,108 students.

Zuraida said the ministry had informed the Environment Department and asked that they ensure the immediate removal of toxic materials.

“The Johor government has also been informed to see to the proper disposal of the chemical waste,” she said.

Fire and Rescue Services director-general Mohammad Hamdan Wahid said the department found the air quality reading in the area to be poor, despite being quite a distance from Sungai Kim Kim.