Singapore—A joint press statement was released from relevant agencies to assure the public that the country’s water supply has had no impact from the illegal chemical dumping in Pasir Gudang.
The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), the National Environment Agency (NEA), the Public Utilities Board (PUB) and the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA), released a statement on Thursday, March 14. The agencies also announced that since the incident occurred on March 7, they have been keeping a close eye on developments at Sungai Kim Kim in Pasir Gudang.
Over 900 people have sought medical treatment after having been poisoned by toxic fumes in Pasir Gudang, including 8 medical staff. There were 162 new cases reported on Thursday, March 14, and 12 of the victims remain in the Intensive Care Units (ICUs) of Sultan Ismail Hospital, Sultanah Aminah Hospital, and Permai Hospital. 111 schools in the area have also been closed due to the contamination.
Thankfully, no fatalities have been reported.
According to the press statement: “We understand that the clean-up operation by the Malaysian authorities is in progress. The affected area is outside of the Johor River catchment, and there is no impact on Singapore’s water supply.
SCDF, NEA, and PUB have not detected any anomalies in our local air and water quality. The AVA has been working with our farmers to monitor the situation and no anomalies or fish mortality have been observed at our fish farms.”
On its Facebook page on March 14, the National Environment Agency (NEA), also assured the public that they are closely monitoring the situation in Pasir Gudang.
The agency reported on the air and water quality of Singapore, and have promised to report on “any significant changes to the situation.”
“The 24-hr PSI since 6 March has been in the Good to low-Moderate range, while the 1-hr PM2.5 readings remained in Band I (Normal). NEA has not detected any elevated levels of benzene or other Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) at our air monitoring stations. The ambient VOC levels along Singapore’s coast remain within safe levels. The seawater quality within the vicinity of Pulau Ubin is also within normal levels.”
We have been monitoring the situation in Pasir Gudang, Johor where a number of people have been reported to be affected…
The noxious fumes came from a tanker from an illegal tyre recycling factory that reportedly dumped chemical waste into Sungai Kim Kim, an act that is against Malaysia’s laws.
The water from Sungai Kim Kim goes into the Straits of Johor, which is near Singapore’s Pulau Ubin.
Hence the concern over Singapore’s water supply, and whether it would be affected by the illegal chemical dumping.
Singapore’s NEA and SCDF are working with corresponding agencies in Malaysia for real-time updates.
While more than 2,700 people have been affected by the noxious fumes stemming from the illegal chemical dumping in Pasir Gudang, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Dr Tun Mahathir Mohamad declared on Thursday, March 14, that the situation is under control and that it is not necessary to declare a state of emergency.
Speaking to the press after having visited victims of the toxic fumes who were admitted to the Sultan Ismail Hospital, Dr Mahathir reminded everyone involved to continue to be cautious since the situation has not been fully resolved. “We cannot say the worst is over,” he said.
“No … it has not reached that stage (where an emergency has to be declared). There is no need for any evacuation, but we must be careful. Those mobilised to contain the situation must also be prepared to handle the problem.”
However, he said that he does not expect the situation to get more severe than it already is. “On the other hand, we don’t think it is going to be more serious than now. But what is important is that they know how to handle this problem.”