JOHOR BAHRU, March 7 (Bernama) -- The number of victims, who were believed to have sniffed the chemical which was dumped into the KimKim River, have gone up to 30 people, to date.
State Health, Environment and Agriculture Committee chairman Dr Sahruddin Jamal said that, of the total, 21 victims had been taken to the Sultan Ismail Hospital, six to the Pasir Gudang Health Clinic and three more were treated at the Penawar Hospital.
He said that all were reported to be in stable conditions.
‘’Two victims at the Sultan Ismail Hospital are provided with breathing assistance (intubate) to prevent a worse situation as the breathing conduits can be blocked after breathing in the chemical,’’ he said.
He also said samples of the pollution at the river had already been taken by Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Unit (Hazmat), Fire and Rescue Department and the Department of Environment this morning to be analysed.
Asked if the state government had identified the quarters responsible for dumping the chemical waste, he said the individuals or quarters concerned had yet to be identified.
‘’Nevertheless, if the perpetrators have been identified, we will take legal action under a suitable act because it is a chemical pollution from a scheduled waste,’’ he said.
They could be charged under Section 34B, Environment Quality Act 1974 where the maximum fine is RM500,000 and jail not exceeding five years.
Dr Sahruddin said the residents of Kampung Bukit Pulai and Ladang Tong Heng Lama who stayed near the river were also asked to be sensitive with the change in their health because there was also a possibility that they were exposed to the pollution.
‘’The chemical is always moving in the water. So, there is a possibility that they are also exposed. If they experience symptoms like breathing difficulties, cough and red eyes, quickly seek treatment at the nearby clinic,’’ he said.
In addition, the residents of Kampung Pinggiran Acheh had also been told to refrain from carrying out fishing activities, he added.