KUALA LUMPUR, July 2 — The federal government has compelled chemical factories in Pasir Gudang, Johor, to provide nearby schools with gas detectors, after over 700 fell sick from mysterious air pollution.
The Star reported Energy, Science, Technology, Environment, and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin as saying that the factories would also be required to continuously monitor the air quality at the schools they “adopt”.
“This is one of the ways we can ensure that we can get continuous data. If the reading is high, the Pasir Gudang Municipal Council (MPPG) can take a more accurate reading using Gasmet.
“The Environment Department (DOE) has made it mandatory for all chemical industries to provide these detectors to the schools,” Yeo was quoted saying in Johor Baru yesterday.
Yeo reportedly said the government has rented the device to the chemical factories until they can provide it to the schools themselves.
“The air quality monitoring will still be continued by the government, and when the schools have their own devices, the teachers would conduct the monitoring themselves.”
Bernama also reported Yeo as saying that the government would not approve any new applications to construct chemical plants in Pasir Gudang. There are some 250 chemical plants there.
Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail was quoted saying yesterday there was no need for schools in Pasir Gudang to be closed again, after 30 students and teachers from 15 schools in the area reportedly fell sick last Sunday, complaining of vomiting and dizziness, immediately after all Pasir Gudang schools reopened that day.
“For the moment, there is no reason to close the schools…the elimination of sources that have potential to cause pollution is being conducted by DOE to identify the main cause of the health problems there,” Dr Wan Azizah told reporters in Parliament.