JOHOR BAHRU: Three factories in Pasir Gudang have stopped operations, and the government has decided not to approve any application for new chemical plants in the area, environment minister Yeo Bee Yin said today.
She said the matter had been discussed with the state government.
There are currently 2,005 factories in Pasir Gudang, with 250 of them chemical plants, she told reporters after a townhall session with representatives of the industry today.
On Thursday, the Environment Department issued stop-work orders on three chemical factories in Pasir Gudang that were found to have the potential to cause air pollution. The factories were also found to have committed offences under the Environment Quality Act 1974.
Schoolchildren and residents in the area have been reported to have experienced breathing difficulties.
Yeo said four pupils of four schools were referred to hospital today after they complained of breathing difficulties and dizziness, but none of then were warded. The schools included Tanjung Puteri secondary school, and Seri Kota Puteri and Seri Alam primary schools.
Yeo said today’s meeting was held to obtain feedback on immediate measures to be taken about the air pollution problem in Pasir Gudang.
She said the schools which had been affected would be “adopted” by the industry and provided with gas detectors.
“We will also ensure the Department of Environment makes it mandatory for factories to provide gas detectors,’ she added.
Yeo said the ministry would table a Cabinet paper on the need to install an automated pollutant monitoring system in Pasir Gudang.
Factory managements were also asked for the necessary data on their release of water and water vapour for a loading capacity analysis on industrial areas in Pasir Gudang, which would take four to six weeks. “After that, we may impose stricter conditions for industries in Pasir Gudang,” she added.