KUALA LUMPUR — July 4, 2019: The government needs at least another six weeks to determine the cause of ongoing air pollution crisis in Pasir Gudang, Johor.
The timeframe was set in Parliament today by Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin in response to a question from Pengerang member of parliament, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.
Yeo also said that as part of a continuous monitoring exercise, 111 schools in Pasir Gudang have been supplied with gas detectors and teachers there will be taught by enforcement officers on how to use the device.
She said nine of the 205 chemical plants in Pasir Gudang have been ordered to temporarily cease operations following the pollution crisis there which started 13 days ago for the second time this year.
“To control the quality of air in Pasir Gudang is extremely challenging because of unsustainable development. The government is doing its best and I am also open to constructive recommendations from fellow parliamentarians,” said Yeo.
Yeo also stressed that there was a difference between the ongoing crisis and the one in March as she pointed out that in the former, the locations and symptoms of the victims matched the river’s air dispersion path.
“In this ongoing crisis, the victims showed symptoms of nausea and difficulty in breathing despite the fact that gas detectors are showing normal readings,” said Yeo.
She added that the government has drafted six action plans to deal with the crisis. These plans are:
1) To build an automatic, real-time toxic gas monitoring station.
2) To buy more portable toxic gas detectors.
3) To establish a system to analyse and do air carrying capacity studies in Pasir Gudang’s industrial zone.
4) To form the Pasir Gudang Environment Department.
5) To compel industrial premises to be equipped with continuous emission monitoring system.
6) To conduct an adopt-a-school programme for nearby factories and plants and to have the latter supply said schools with gas detectors and air purifiers.