Pasir Gudang air pollution victims referred for psychiatric treatment

Johor’s health department director Dr Selahuddeen Aziz says the stress levels of those affected by the recent air pollution at Pasir Gudang are high. (Bernama pic.)

JOHOR BAHRU: Students affected by shortness of breath and vomiting at Pasir Gudang since June 20 have been referred to the psychiatric unit at a government hospital for supportive treatment, the state health department said.

Its director Dr Selahuddeen Aziz said this was part of the department’s efforts to provide supportive treatment to victims of pollution in the industrialised area.

He said the students were referred to the unit as there were concerns about trauma or anxiety issues.

“We see that their stress levels are high. So we have to give them support treatment, such as psychological first aid.

“Early detection of anxiety will help the students overcome the problem before it worsens,” he said after visiting SK Tanjung Puteri Resort in Pasir Gudang, near here, today.

Selahuddeen said several parents had questioned why their children were being referred for psychiatric treatment.

“Like in other illnesses, there are physical and psychological aspects involved. So we want to treat both. This is the whole process of treatment,” he said.

He said adult victims were also referred for psychiatric support.

Unlike the Sungai Kim Kim incident where chemical pollution led to hundreds needing healthcare due to “toxic air”, the cause of the air pollution cases has yet to be determined.

Meanwhile, Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin said a committee is doing an analysis on whether there is a need for a relocation process in Pasir Gudang with two pollution incidents occurring one after another.

She said the committee, comprising experts in various fields including chemical substances, soil, rivers, gas and environment, is expected to prepare a report within five weeks.

“If there is a need to relocate those in Pasir Gudang, the next thing to look at is the first party to be moved out,” she told reporters after launching the Low Carbon Cities 2030 Challenge at GreenTech Malaysia in Bangi, Selangor, today.