Yeo: Gov’t yet to identify cause of toxic air in Pasir Gudang

Yeo: Gov’t yet to identify cause of toxic air in Pasir Gudang

JOHOR BAHRU: The exact cause of the air pollution causing vomiting and breathing difficulties among students in Pasir Gudang since last Thursday has not been ascertained until now.

Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin said the results of laboratory tests found that samples from eight patients taken to test for cyanide, blood cyanide and volatile organic compound (VOC) have turned out negative.

“The chemical department is keeping on looking for chemical substances in the urine and blood samples of patients.

“But we have failed to detect any chemical substances in the urine and blood samples which is causing breathing difficulties and vomiting in the victims. This is very different from the Sungai Kim Kim pollution case where we had physiological evidence of the presence of chemical substances in the urine and blood, which enabled us to identify the exact cause,” she told reporters at Menara Aqabah yesterday.

Also present were Health, Culture and Heritage Committee chairman Mohd Khuzzan Abu Bakar and State Local Government, Urban Wellbeing and Environment Committee chairman Tan Chen Choon.

Yeo said to ensure the safety of residents and to address such health-related problems, a permanent air pollutant monitoring station would be set up in Pasir Gudang, the details and design of which would be studied.

She said the government had also proposed the creation of a Prediction of Chemical Dispersion System that would be the standard reference to ensure that all substances in Pasir Gudang were within the normal range.

“I have also discussed with YB Tan (Tan Chen Choon) to create a buffer zone between the industrial and residential areas,” said Yeo.

Meanwhile, Khuzzan said that as of noon today, there was no new admission. Only six victims still remained warded at the hospital.

He said the decision on whether schools would reopen on Sunday depends on the air quality reading.