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Air pollution issue - 111 Pasir Gudang schools to reopen tomorrow

School sessions at all 111 primary and secondary schools in Pasir Gudang will resume tomorrow after being closed since Tuesday (June 25) due to respiratory problems and vomiting among students.

Johor Health, Culture and Heritage Committee chairman Mohd Khuzzan Abu Bakar said the task force handling the air pollution issue would be sent to the affected schools to provide safety and prevention briefings to students.

"The safety and prevention briefings will be held at the assembly tomorrow morning. All agencies involved will be on standby, just in case an emergency occurs when schools reopen tomorrow," he told reporters at Menara Aqabah in Johor Bahru today.

Mohd Khuzzan said the resumption of classes tomorrow also involves three institutions of higher learning, 347 private kindergartens as well as 14 private and international schools registered with the Johor Education Department.

According to Mohd Khuzzan, as of noon today, the air quality reading in Pasir Gudang was at a normal level and that the Department of Environment (DOE) and Johor Fire and Rescue Department (JBPM) will continue to monitor the air quality.

He said the DOE had checked 72 industrial premises in Pasir Gudang and taken action against the parties concerned in accordance with the Environmental Quality Act 1974.

The DOE issued 40 compounds for scheduled waste offences, 10 compounds for the discharge of industrial effluents, three instruction notices for improvement of chemical handling systems and three stop-work orders against premises that failed to comply with the Environmental Quality Act 1974, he said.

He said no new patients were admitted to hospital between last Tuesday (June 25) and 12 noon today.

He said a 17-year-old girl who was admitted to Sultan Ismail Hospital (HSI) on Tuesday is the only victim still warded.

"The student is in stable condition and she has a history of asthma," he said.

At the same time, he said the state government was grateful for the commitment of the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC) to instal gas detectors and air quality measuring devices that could give accurate readings within a wider radius of Pasir Gudang and across state borders.

"Providing the tools is a proactive step for early determination of air quality and detection of the presence of harmful gases generated not only from factories but also from outside the Pasir Gudang area," he said.

Mohd Khuzzan said people with any inquiries on health issues can contact the Pasir Gudang Fire and Rescue centre at 07-2513444, JBPM State operations centre at 07-3310860 or Disaster Operational Control centre at 07-2511024. - Bernama

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