Malaysia: Johor chemical pollution crisis worsens; 207 sickened by toxic fumes

The chemical pollution crisis at Sungai Kim Kim, which began last Thursday, worsened last night, as toxic fumes forced dozens more people to seek treatment at hospitals in the area. (NSTP Archive)
New Straits Times 12 Mar 19;

JOHOR BARU: The chemical pollution crisis at Sungai Kim Kim, which began last Thursday, worsened last night, as toxic fumes forced dozens more people to seek treatment at hospitals in the area.

According to Bernama, the number of victims suffering breathing difficulties and vomiting from exposure to the chemical pollution, which had been mysteriously dumped in the river, rose to 207 as of 11pm last night.

Most of those affected in the latest incident are students of Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Taman Pasir Putih and Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Taman Pasir Putih which are situated near the polluted river.

“As of 11pm (on Monday), 29 people were sent to health clinics for examination, while 77 victims were referred to the Sultan Ismail Hospital (HSI).

“Of the total, 35 were admitted for further treatment, with four being warded in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU),” Johor Health director Dr Selahuddeen Abd Aziz said in a statement here, last night.

He added that 44 victims of the first incident on Thursday are still at the HSI, with six still in the ICU.

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Global youth movement on March 15 calling for greater climate action may be held in Singapore as well

Audrey Tan Straits Times 11 Mar 19;

SINGAPORE - Impatient with the glacial pace of climate action, young people around the world plan to show the authorities this Friday (March 15) exactly how much they care by going on strike and skipping school.

There are also plans here for young people to push for greater climate action on that same day, said Ms Pamela Low from the Singapore Youth for Climate Action.

She added that details will be revealed at a later date.

The Straits Times understands there will not be a strike here.

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Viral video of snake handling is ‘horrifying’, ‘unacceptable’: Animal activists

SHERLYN SEAH Today Online 11 Mar 19;

SINGAPORE — Animal experts and activists, including Member of Parliament (MP) Louis Ng, have expressed horror and disgust at a viral online video — supposedly part of a training programme — showing a man handling a live python roughly by stepping on and throwing it onto the floor.

Mr Ng, who is also the founder and chief executive of animal welfare group, Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (Acres), shared the video on his Facebook page on Monday (March 11).

“When you see the video, it’s horrifying what they did and completely unacceptable,” said Mr Ng, who is an MP for Nee Soon Group Representation Constituency.

“Training is important, but it shouldn’t compromise the well-being of the animal.”

He also pointed out that a number of those who commented on the video on his Facebook page had echoed his sentiments, including those who did not like snakes.

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Pathogens hitchhiking on plastics ‘could carry cholera from India to US’

Research finds ‘nurdles’ washed up on Scottish beaches tainted with E coli, with potentially far-reaching health implications
Karen McVeigh The Guardian 11 Mar 19;

Dangerous sewage pathogens have been found “hitch-hiking” on plastic litter washed up on some of Scotland’s finest bathing beaches, raising concerns from scientists the phenomenon could have far-reaching implications for human health worldwide.

The findings, by the University of Stirling, have confirmed environmentalists’ fears that ubiquitous, persistent and tiny plastic beads, or “nurdles”, found on beaches and in rivers and seas around the world, act as rafts for harmful bacteria, transporting them from sewage outfalls and agricultural runoff to bathing waters and shellfish beds.

The findings raise the potential for “cholera in India to be transported and washed up on a shore in the USA”, according to Dr Richard Quilliam, the study’s principal investigator.

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