Finding collective voices of the activists and citizens of Pasir Gudang
Bringing the hot discussion of Pasir Gudang pollution out from the social media to actual people, moderated by Bait Al Amanah, a panel of professional researchers, academicians and activists were hosted under one roof collectively with concerned citizens and public about the situation in Pasir Gudang.
The forum held in Masai was to inform and collect opinion from immediate and affected citizens in Pasir Gudang regarding the pollution situation there. The line-up were Ir. Dr. Zaki Zainuddin; Water Quality & Modelling Specialist, Dr. Japareng Lalung, Lecturer from the School of Technology, USM, Dr. Serina Rahman, Visiting Fellow of ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, Singapore, and Vincent Chow Kok Kow from Malaysia Nature Association.
Dr. Zaki Zainuddin mentioned the need to control the source of pollution and detecting the cause of it, how that would be much more effective compared to cleaning it up later. “There is a need to revise the law,” he added. Dr. Japareng on the other hand stressed that there is a need to be stringent in observing where the industrial waste goes since the chemicals found in the pollution like Benzene, Limonene and Toulene are scheduled waste and are supposed to be disposed by Kualiti Alam in Negeri Sembilan. “If a manufacturer produces scheduled chemicals or waste, it is supposed to reach Kualiti Alam. If it’s not, then something is wrong and should be checked immediately,” he said.
Vincent Chow calls for more environment awareness and knowledge among the public so they feel the need to be protective of the place they are living in while Dr. Serina introduced ‘Citizen Scientists’, a role that anyone could take by doing research and collect data within the local surroundings so they could aid the Department of Environment (DOE) should any problems crop up.
The concerned attendees voiced out their views which were collected to further aid the points that the panel has raised.
In related news, 12 primary schools, declared as “hotspot schools” affected during the recent chemical pollution in Pasir Gudang were given about 1000 masks for its pupils as precautionary measures by local NGO Ihsan Johor together with 3M Malaysia.
Many of the schools namely SK Kopok, SK Tanjung Puteri Resort, SK Taman Scientex, SK Kota Masai, SK Pasir Gudang 4, SK Taman Bukit Dahlia, SK Taman Megah Ria, SK Taman Pasir Putih, SK Taman Rinting 3, SK Pasir Gudang 1, SK Pasir Gudang 3 and SK Kota Masai 3 were affected by the two incidents of chemical pollution in the area back in March and June.
Pasir Gudang Member of Parliament Hassan Abdul Karim assured the parents and the community that the state government was committed to ensuring the safety of the residents in Pasir Gudang.
“I have met with the Menteri Besar to convey the people’s wishes and he was receptive to all the feedback,” he said, adding that they have assured that drastic action including closing down illegal factories would continue.