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JOHOR BAHRU, Sept 15 -- The Department of Environment (DOE) and related agencies are in the process of completing an investigation into the scheduled waste disposal incident in Sungai Tawakal, Kampung Baru Sri Aman, Seelong, near here, last night.
Environment and Water Minister Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said his team, through the DOE, had collected evidence, identified the scene and arrested all those involved since last night.
“Alhamdulillah, the situation (pollution) has returned to normal and what remains is for us to complete the investigation for prosecution.
“The result of the chemical analysis is also expected to come out within a week,” he told reporters after visiting the scene in Kampung Baru Sri Aman, this afternoon.
He said so far, nine men comprising five locals and four foreigners, aged between 30 and 50, had been detained to assist in the investigation.
Tuan Ibrahim said the source of the pollution was identified as a vehicle storage premises used by several companies.
“Through our investigation, we found that they used pipes from the trucks directly to the riverbank. We have obtained information, we will continue to find the cause and to identify the source of the incident. This is very important," he added.
In addition, his team also saw the impact of the pollution on fish and other underwater life in the river.
Thus, he stressed that his ministry would not compromise with those responsible and would monitor all those with licences for scheduled waste disposal to carry it out in the proper way.
The case will be investigated under Section 34B of the Environmental Quality Act 1974 where offenders can be sentenced to a maximum mandatory jail term of five years and a fine of up to RM500,000.
Tuan Ibrahim also thanked the relevant agencies such as the DOE, Fire and Rescue Department and the Royal Malaysia Police for their hard work since yesterday.
Yesterday, four women had breathing difficulties while 102 residents from 25 families in the village were evacuated following the foul smell in the area believed to have been caused by scheduled waste disposal.
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