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|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Good|| 49 US AQI||PM2.5|
PM2.5 concentration in Petaling Jaya is currently 2.4 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
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|Tuesday, Dec 5|
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 101 AQI US
|Wednesday, Dec 6|
Moderate 76 AQI US
|Thursday, Dec 7|
Moderate 68 AQI US
Good 49 AQI US
|Saturday, Dec 9|
Good 43 AQI US
|Sunday, Dec 10|
Good 41 AQI US
|Monday, Dec 11|
Good 29 AQI US
|Tuesday, Dec 12|
Good 29 AQI US
|Wednesday, Dec 13|
Good 29 AQI US
|Thursday, Dec 14|
Good 25 AQI US
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Petaling Jaya, or PJ as it is sometimes shortened to amongst the local population, is a city located in peninsular Malaysia, being counted as part of the greater Kuala Lumpur area, or a satellite city of the nations capital, originally constructed as a solution to the rising problem of overpopulation occurring in Kuala Lumpur during the 1950’s. As a prominent satellite city of the capital, as well as having a population of over 632 thousand people and a significant economy based around retail, property development as well as a large condensation of shopping malls, Petaling Jaya is subject to some pollution issues due to ongoing growth in both its population size as well as urban infrastructure and building projects.
In 2019, Petaling Jaya was recorded as having a yearly PM2.5 average of 19.6 μg/m³, a reading that put it into the ‘moderate’ pollution bracket for that year, which requires a PM2.5 reading of anywhere between 12.1 to 35.4 μg/m³ to be classified as such. This reading denotes a less than perfect quality of air, which could be harmful to certain members of the population, particularly during months where the PM2.5 count rises even higher. This reading of 19.6 μg/m³ placed Petaling Jaya in 926th place out of all cities ranked worldwide, as well as in 6th place out of all cities ranked in Malaysia for 2019.
Petaling Jaya is subject to the same numerous sources of pollution that many other cities across the peninsula are, as well as having extra high levels due to its close proximity to the capital city. This generally brings with it a large amount of movement in and out of the city, with people commuting into the capital whilst living out in neighboring cities. This in turn can lead to massive amounts of traffic, something that is already well known by the denizens of Malaysia, as a phenomenon that has afflicted the roads for a considerable amount of time.
Heavy use of personal vehicles such as cars and motorbikes, as well as a large number of industrial vehicles such as trucks and lorries on the road leads to large buildups of fuel related pollution, as well as fine particulate accumulation coming from both the combustion of the fuel, even down to smaller details such as microscopic particles of rubber entering the atmosphere as a result of tires being worn down on the roads over time.
Other causes of pollution come from factory emissions, along with power sites and other related industrial zones, which can be found in nearby proximity as well as inside the city. These often run on diesel fuels for their heavy machinery, as well as coal for general energy suppliance, with the resulting fumes and runoff contaminating the atmosphere and leading the Petaling Jaya’s high ranking amongst all cities across Malaysia. Lastly, the most important source of pollution that causes the unwelcome spike in pollution towards the years end comes from forest and farmland fires in Indonesia, particularly the Sumatran region, which drift over the ocean and make their way over to Malaysia, affecting the whole country, southern Thailand and Singapore, with Petaling Jaya being no exception to these drifting and highly damaging smoke clouds.
With much of its pollution stemming from sources such as vehicle engines and their mass gatherings during rush hour traffic, there would be a large amount of related materials in the air, especially over certain areas such as the busy highways and roads that play such a large part in the city. Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) would be found in abundance, with nitrogen dioxide being the chief offender when it comes to vehicular emissions.
Other pollutants would be ones such as black carbon and volatile organic compounds (VOC's), both of which are formed from the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels as well as organic matter, and thus would find their release from vehicles, factories and heavy machinery, as well as even more innocuous sources such as household items emitting these VOC's from paints, varnishes and adhesives. Some examples of VOC's include chemicals such as benzene, xylene, methylene chloride and formaldehyde.
Going off of the data collected over the course of 2019, it can be seen that as with all cities across peninsular Malaysia, particularly those on the western region, saw their worst peaks in PM2.5 during the latter months of the year, and Petaling Jaya was no exception. Whilst the whole year came in with fairly high pollution readings, with mild fluctuations occurring that moved the units up and down by varying degrees, towards the last quadrant of the year is when some less appreciable readings became apparent.
In July, Petaling Jaya came in with a PM2.5 reading of 18.1 μg/m³, which was then followed by a rise up to 22.4 μg/m³ in August. The big spike in pollution came in September, where the PM2.5 level rose up to 45.1 μg/m³, a reading that was high enough to put it into the ‘unhealthy for sensitive groups’ bracket, a rating that requires a PM2.5 reading of anywhere between 35.5 to 55.4 μg/m³ to be classified as such, and the only month of the year to hit this rating, due to the forest fire smoke drifting over from Indonesia.
Besides being damaging to the environment, having far reaching effects on local wildlife and vegetation, pollution levels have a number of ill effects on the health of people that they are exposed to. These ailments include among them a variety of issues such as coughing, shortness of breath, irritation to the skin as well as mucous membranes, with the eyes, ears and mouth all being subject to chemical irritation.
Besides these more surface level side effects, rates of cancer can soar, particularly pertaining to that of the throat and lungs, although many bodily systems and organs can also be affected, due to fine particulate matters insidious ability to enter the bloodstream via the lungs and hence make its way to the far corners of the body, causing instances of ischemic heart disease, reproductive system damage, the liver and kidneys being affected as well as all related respiratory issues that occur when pollution is inhaled, such as aggravated bronchitis, pneumonia and emphysema.