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|Air pollution level
|Air quality index
| 31* US AQI
PM2.5 concentration in Subang Jaya is currently 1.5 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
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Good 31 AQI US
|Sunday, Feb 25
Good 46 AQI US
|Monday, Feb 26
Moderate 56 AQI US
|Tuesday, Feb 27
Good 50 AQI US
|Wednesday, Feb 28
Good 38 AQI US
|Thursday, Feb 29
Good 27 AQI US
|Friday, Mar 1
Good 34 AQI US
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Subang Jaya is a small city on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, located in the Petaling Jaya district. Like many cities around the world situated right next to the country’s capital, it will be subject to pollution levels caused by a number of reasons related to its close proximity. Typically, people who live in these smaller cities surrounding the capital will tend to work in the capital itself, and as such there will a high volume of commuters travelling in and out of Subang Jaya on a daily basis, as well as other vehicles such as buses and trucks carrying industrial loads and other goods in and out. These vehicles, more so than cars, are responsible for the higher emission of pollutants and PM2.5 (fine particulate matter of 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter) into the atmosphere, largely in part due to the poorer quality of fuel that they run on, as well as many of them using engines that are well out of date, with these two factors adding up to cause them to emit high volumes of black soot and pollution, as well as large volumes of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), a chemical compound that is found in high concentrations around areas that see large volumes of traffic, and as such it is often linked directly to the amount of vehicles passing through any given area with high readings.
Besides cars and trucks causing pollution, there is a dense number of factories and industrial plants dotted around Subang Jaya’s inner city, with many centered around the production of industrial and engineering supplies. These plants and factories would be responsible for putting out a large amount of their own pollutants, with PM2.5 in the air containing a variety of other compounds such as Sulfur Dioxide (SO2), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Ozone (O3) to name a few. Construction sites, which are plentiful in many cities around rapidly growing areas in Asia are often responsible for the creation of pollutive materials such as microplastic, fine particulate matter of metal scraps such as lead and other finely ground dirt particles that can accumulate in the city’s atmosphere, combining with other chemicals to create more dangerous forms of PM10 and PM2.5. Whilst these are the two main causes of pollution and poor air quality in Subang Jaya, it would also be subject to the haze and smog that drifts over from the fires started in Indonesia by farmers, lacking the strong winds of a coastal city to keep itself free from the lingering smoke clouds. Due to a lack of data on Subang Jaya’s overall pollution and PM2.5 levels in years prior to 2020, it is hard to say which months would be the worst, but if one were to follow the numbers recorded on IQAir’s 2019 chart, it would be safe to say that due to its close proximity to Kuala Lumpur, it would also suffer from the same haze issues that affect the countries capital, as well as the ambient levels of pollution given off by cars and factories.
As touched on briefly earlier, there is a major issue that Malaysia as a country suffers from, as well as Singapore and other south east Asian countries in close proximity. The slash and burn farming methods used in Indonesia continue to be practiced year after year, despite international and local pressure and the declaration of said practice becoming highly illegal. Despite this it does continue unabated due to lack of enforcement and the difficulty in stopping those responsible for it, particularly out in the countryside’s, far away from the jurisdiction that a major city would have.
As such, every year starting around august and ending in October, vast swathes of haze and smog are blown over from Indonesia, in particular Sumatra, and find their way over to Malaysia where the clouds of smoke and pollution can linger for weeks on end, with many famous cases listed over the years that have caused disastrous effects, with flights being suspended and schools closed, as well as causing large numbers of premature deaths linked directly to the conditions caused by these smoke clouds. So, to summarize, the year-round level of pollution in Subang Jaya would be caused by vehicular and factory pollution, whilst the more extreme cases and rises in PM2.5 would be started by the arrival of the yearly transnational smog that permeates the sky.
In Malaysia and subsequently most of its cities, there exists an over reliance on personal vehicles. A huge amount of money has been poured into road infrastructure and fuel remains at low prices, subsidized by the government and other international corporations. As a consequence, public transport infrastructure has been left behind in previous years, and it is only in recent times approaching 2020 that more initiatives and money have been put into place to improve the quality and efficiency of public transport in an attempt to lure Malaysians away from their personal vehicles and towards using alternative methods. This combined with an international effort to reduce locally produced smoke as well as international haze from the burning of forestland are combined in an effort to reduce pollution in cities such as Subang Jaya.
As with any city that suffers from vehicle relation smoke emissions, there are numerous negative attributes that can accumulate on a person’s health when exposed over long periods of time, particularly during months where the air quality is particularly poor. PM2.5 is of a small enough size that it can enter the bloodstream via the lungs and cause a number of issues, including cancer of the lungs, increased risk of chest infections as well as irritation to the eyes, nose, throat and skin, although these last ones can also be caused by the larger PM10. Heart diseases and arrythmias are also linked to the breathing of polluted air over long periods of time, and as such the time spent breathing polluted air should be kept to an absolute minimum.
There are many preventative measures that individuals can take to lessen the health risks during the more polluted months of the year. These include staying up to date on pollution levels via the use of air quality maps, as available on the IQAir website that are updated on a daily basis, or via apps such as AirVisual, which can provide the same information but with the ease of accessibility that a phone provides. With the knowledge of the Air quality index and thus the levels of pollutants in the air, preventative measures such as the wearing of appropriate particle filtering masks can go a long way in reducing the inhalation of dangerous fine particles and fumes in the air. As well as this the information can be utilized to make decisions on whether to partake in outdoor activities during heightened periods of pollution, reducing the contact that individuals have to make with tainted air, thereby reducing the health-related issues that one may encounter.