Dozens of students rushed to clinics barely hours after schools in Pasir Gudang reopen

Teachers helping a pupil get treatment because of symptoms of breathlessness and nausea during school hours, at SK Kopok in Pasir Gudang on June 30, 2019.
Teachers helping a pupil get treatment because of symptoms of breathlessness and nausea during school hours, at SK Kopok in Pasir Gudang on June 30, 2019. PHOTO: BERNAMA
Ms Muneera (right), a teacher at SK Pasir Gudang 4, helping pupils wear their mouth and nose masks during the school session on June 30, 2019.
Ms Muneera (right), a teacher at SK Pasir Gudang 4, helping pupils wear their mouth and nose masks during the school session on June 30, 2019.PHOTO: BERNAMA
Johor education director Azman Adnan (squatting, front right) distributing masks to students in SK Pasir Gudang 4 on June 30, 2019.
Johor education director Azman Adnan (squatting, front right) distributing masks to students in SK Pasir Gudang 4 on June 30, 2019.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK
Johor State education department director Azman Adnan helping a pupil wear the mouth and nose mask on June 30, 2019.
Johor State education department director Azman Adnan helping a pupil wear the mouth and nose mask on June 30, 2019.PHOTO: BERNAMA

PASIR GUDANG (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Dozens of students at several schools in Pasir Gudang, Johor experienced breathing difficulties and nausea hours after 111 primary and secondary schools reopened on Sunday (30 June), after being closed last week due to an air pollution incident.

However, State health, culture and heritage committee chairman Mohd Khuzzan Abu Bakar said that classes would go continue, as air quality readings here were normal.

"We will move students whose classrooms are at higher floor to a lower level, as most students who experienced symptoms today are from the third and fourth floors," he said. 

He said agencies like the Pasir Gudang Emergency Mutual Aid (Pagema) and the Department of Enviroment (DoE) would continue to monitor the air around Pasir Gudang.

"About 30 were sent to the Pasir Gudang and Masai health clinics," he said at SK Kopok, one of the affected schools here.

He added that schools with evening sessions, including SK Kopok, would continue classes as usual on Sunday.

A total of 475 educational institutions in Pasir Gudang  were closed for three days since last Tuesday due to air pollution. 

More than 100 students from over 30 schools have been affected by the incident, which first hit on June 20.

 
 
 

The cause of the air pollution and the students' symptoms is still unknown.

Last week, Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin said three types of flammable and toxic gases had been detected in the area. These gases were methyl mercaptan, acrylonitrile and acrolein.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has described the incident as "unfortunate", saying it should not have happened, especially coming hard on the heels of the dumping of toxic waste into nearby Sungai Kim Kim three months ago.

In March, schools were also ordered to close because of toxic fumes coming from Sungai Kim Kim. The incident, which resulted in methane gas spreading through the air, had forced almost 4,000 people to seek treatment at hospitals.