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Johor schools hit by suspected chemical waste fumes

About 207 people affected by possible methane and benzene from illicitly dumped waste in Pasir Gudang.

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Last week, two Pasir Gudang schools identified as Sekolah Kebangsaan Taman Pasir Putih and Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Pasir Putih were ordered closed due to students experiencing nausea, vomiting and breathing difficulties.

Some of these students had also fainted after inhaling chemical fumes emerging from an adjacent river Sungai Kim Kim where chemical waste had been dumped.

When the schools reopened just hours ago, a similar state transpired. Around 61 people had to be admitted to the Sultan Ismail Hospital after manifesting the same symptoms observed from last Thurs’ victims. Among those confined, 57 are students and four are adults, including a teacher.

According to Johor health, environment and agriculture committee chairman Dr Sahruddin Jamal, 27 people have been treated at the hospital’s green zone. Nine and 25 others have been confined at the red and yellow sections, respectively.

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On the other hand, Johor MB Datuk Osman Sapian has regretted the re-opening of the affected schools. He adds that he has requested the District Disaster Relief Management Committee, or the JPBBD, to secure the centers until the areas become safe for both teachers and students.

The Bernama national news outfit reports that about 207 people were affected by the chemical fumes believed to contain methane and benzene gases emitting from an oily substance suspected to be scheduled waste illicitly dumped in Pasir Gudang.

At the time of this report, the environment department was working together with the fire and rescue department to clean up the place. Both departments want to ensure that the surroundings and the air quality within the premises are free from any form of contamination.

Osman has also reiterated that the culprits behind the waste dumping will be charged with the offence. Two factory owners and an employee have already been apprehended by the police in relation to the incident.

 

 

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