Seventeen Pasir Gudang Schools Shuttered Over Pollution Fears

15 people from Sekolah Agama Taman Mawar were hospitalised for breathing difficulties.

KUALA LUMPUR, June 24 – Fourteen more schools in Pasir Gudang, Johor Baru, are closed for four days starting today, after three shuttered Saturday over air pollution concerns.

Bernama reported that the schools were within a 6km radius from Sekolah Agama Taman Mawar in Pasir Gudang, where 15 people, comprising 13 students and two adults, were hospitalised for breathing difficulties attributed to air pollution.

The 14 schools that will close until Thursday are Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Bukit Dahlia, SK Taman Cahaya Masai, SK Felda Cahaya Baru, SK Kong Kong Laut, SK Taman Nusa Damai, SK Kopok, SK Kota Masai 3, SK Taman Cendana, Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Taman Nusa Damai, SMK Pasir Gudang, SMK Kota Masai, Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (Tamil) Pasir Gudang, SK Taman Scientex and SMK Taman Scientex.

“Also involved are public educational institutions, Johor government religious schools, all pre-schools and kindergartens,” Johor Health, Culture and Heritage Committee chairman Mohd Khuzzan Abu Bakar was quoted telling reporters yesterday.

The Johor state executive councillor reportedly said breathing difficulties and vomiting were reported in Pasir Gudang again yesterday morning.

“Up until 3.30 pm, 13 victims have been referred to the Sultan Ismail Hospital and were in stable condition and 49 were receiving treatment at a temporary clinic at the Pasir Gudang Municipal Council Indoor Stadium and Pasir Gudang Health Clinic.”

Mohd Khuzzan reportedly said the Department of Environment and other agencies have yet to identify the cause of the illness.

“The victims’ blood tests so far showed everything negative. All normal, no indication of toxic effects,” he was quoted saying.

The latest incident raised fears of a repeat of the toxic pollution of Sungai Kim Kim in Pasir Gudang last March that had sickened over 4,000 people and caused the closure of 111 schools in the Johor district. Mohd Khuzzan, however, reportedly said Friday that the current spate of illness had nothing to do with the polluted river as the school whose students were hospitalised was located 6km away. Authorities did not find any dumping of toxic waste in the area either.

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