KUALA LUMPUR, March 13 (Bernama) -- Below is a chronology of events triggered by toxic fumes emanating from chemical waste dumped into Sungai Kim Kim last Thursday, and the unfolding environmental disaster causing more than 10 schools around Pasir Gudang to be closed indefinitely.
* March 7 (9:30 am): The management of two schools, namely Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Pasir Putih and Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Pasir Putih detected a chemical stench in the air and informed the Fire and Rescue Department and Pasir Gudang District Health Office.
* 10 am: Students experienced dizziness, nausea and vomiting. Eight ambulances were rushed to the two schools to help 24 students, a teacher from each school and a few workers from the school canteens who were taken ill.
A special Hazardous Materials management team (Hazmat) and the Fire and Rescue Department confirmed the possibility of a gas leak in the vicinity as the schools were located near an industrial area and instructions were given to vacate the premises. Both schools were closed three days until Saturday and 35 people were hospitalised, three of them at the intensive care unit.
*March 8: Thirty-nine people were warded.
* March 9: The number of victims seeking treatment increased to 79 people.
* March 10: Teachers of SMK Pasir Putih and SK Pasir Putih carried out a gotong-royong to clean up the schools.
The number of victims rose to 82 people.
* March 11: Three men, including two factory owners were detained on suspicion of disposing chemical waste into Sungai Kim Kim.
- 7 am: The schools reopen and learning sessions take place as usual.
- 11.30 am: Again many students from the two schools complained of breathing difficulties and nausea. The school managements directed the schools to be vacated due to the unhealthy air condition and students were allowed to go home.
- 11 pm: Twenty-nine people were sent to the nearby Health Clinic for further examination while another 77 were referred to Sultan Ismail Hospital, Johor Bahru.
Based on the advice of the District Disaster Relief Management Committee, the Johor Education Department decided that both schools be closed until further notice.
* March 12: Two more schools, SK Tanjung Puteri Resort and SMK Tanjung Puteri in Pasir Gudang district were closed when 50 students of SMK Tanjung Puteri and five pupils of SK Tanjung Puteri Resort complained of dizziness and shortness of breath as result of inhaling the toxic fumes.
As many as 13 schools around Pasir Gudang were closed indefinitely.
The schools closed are SK Taman Pasir Putih, SMK Pasir Putih, SK Tanjung Puteri Resort, SMK Tanjung Puteri Resort, SK Pasir Putih, SK Kota Masai 2, SMK Kota Masai 2, SK Kota Masai 3, SMK Kota Masai, SK Kota Masai, SK Perigi Acheh, Sekolah Agama Kampung Pasir Putih, and Sekolah Agama Taman Pasir Putih.
Three-hundred and six people were treated on Tuesday, March 12.