Singapore—Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources Masagos Zulkifli says the Pasir Gudang pollution in Johor is not impacting Singapore’s air and water.
There have been anxieties regarding the potentially adverse effects of the pollution in Pasir Gudang on Singapore because of the proximity of the locations.
Malaysian authorities shut down schools in Pasir Gudang for three days since June 25 amidst reports of schoolchildren showing symptoms of sickness.
Just hours after schools reopened, there were fresh reports of students around suffering from nausea, vomiting, and headaches attributed to the pollution.
Environmental groups in Malaysia urged their government to seek help from Singapore to better detect the pollution source, but Malaysia’s environment minister says it is not necessary to seek foreign help.
Minister Masagos reassures Parliament that Singapore remains free of any toxic chemicals from the Johor pollution incident.
In a report by Channel News Asia, Minister Masagos says that levels of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) near the affected region were still “within safe limits.”
According to the National Environment Agency (NEA), “VOCs are organic chemical vapours which can come from both man-made and natural sources such as trees, motor vehicles, chemical manufacturing facilities, refineries and factories.
They can also be found in commercial products, for example, paint, varnishes, moth repellents, air fresheners, aerosol sprays, glue and cleaning products. These compounds can cause smells by themselves or when they react with other VOCs.”
Additionally, the Singapore Civil Defence Forces (SCDF) has installed chemical gas detectors in the region to detect any trace of toxic chemicals in the air.
The NEA also has air monitoring stations in the northeast region that are installed to detect benzene, toluene, and xylene in the air.
The NEA also installed buoy-based monitoring sensors in eight locations to monitor the water quality in Singapore. No toxic chemicals have been detected, and air and water quality are “comparable to the rest of Singapore,” according to Minister Masagos.
Malaysia’s Minister for Energy, Science, Technology, Environment, and Climate Change Yeo Bee Yin added that the government will not hesitate to shut down illegal factories within the affected area and reject proposals for construction of new chemical plants in Pasir Gudang.
The NEA continues to work with Malaysian agencies to monitor the region./TISG