We were not slow to act, says Johor on latest air pollution incident

Department of Environment personnel check on air quality at factories in Pasir Gudang today. (Bernama pic.)

JOHOR BAHRU: The state government has dismissed claims it was slow to react to the latest case of air pollution in Pasir Gudang, which resulted in breathing difficulty and vomiting among residents, particularly students.

Health, Culture and Heritage Committee chairman Mohd Khuzzan Abu Bakar said the government agencies had been working hard to tackle the latest incident since it began on Thursday.

“From the very first day, the Fire and Rescue Department, the Department of Environment, the Chemistry Department and the District Office were among the agencies which worked to immediately handle the issue.

“There was not even one government agency which did not play its part. All have played their roles well. I dismiss the claim that government agencies did not perform their duties,” he told reporters at the Persada Johor International Convention Centre here today.

Khuzzan was commenting on allegations by certain quarters that the state government did not act fast to tackle the pollution in Pasir Gudang.

He said no new case of pollution had been reported as of noon today.

Most of the victims had been students, especially in Forms Three and Four. Up till yesterday, 75 had been referred to the Sultan Ismail Hospital and four were warded.

Khuzzan also said the state government would look into the need to set up a buffer zone between the industrial and housing areas to preventing similar incidents from happening in the future.

“For now, our focus is on ensuring that the operations being conducted by the district disaster committee goes on smoothly.

“After this, we will look at setting up the Pasir Gudang monitoring committee to look into the need to set up a buffer zone between the industrial and housing areas,” he said.