|2||Petaling Jaya, Selangor|
|4||Shah Alam, Selangor|
|5||Kuala Selangor, Selangor|
|6||Tanjung Tokong, Penang|
|7||Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur|
|9||Kota Bharu, Kelantan|
|10||Nilai, Negeri Sembilan|
(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
live AQI index
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Moderate|| 70 US AQI||PM2.5|
|PM2.5|| 21.2 µg/m³|
|Close your windows to avoid dirty outdoor air|
|Sensitive groups should reduce outdoor exercise|
|Friday, May 7|
Moderate 63 US AQI
|Saturday, May 8|
Moderate 60 US AQI
|Sunday, May 9|
Moderate 59 US AQI
Moderate 70 US AQI
|Tuesday, May 11|
Good 38 US AQI
|Wednesday, May 12|
Moderate 51 US AQI
|Thursday, May 13|
Good 50 US AQI
|Friday, May 14|
Good 41 US AQI
|Saturday, May 15|
Good 46 US AQI
|Sunday, May 16|
Moderate 57 US AQI
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Johor Bahru is a city located in the southernmost region of peninsular Malaysia, being somewhat of a land based entry point into Singapore due to its close proximity along the straits of Johor. The city is home to some 663 thousand inhabitants, and is considered to be one of Malaysia’s fastest growing cities, second only to the capital city, Kuala Lumpur. It has a considerable economy based around tourism, retail and manufacturing, electronic goods production as well as being a center for arts and culture. With its subsequent economic growth coupled with its steadily rising population and infrastructure, Johor Bahru is subject to some pollution related issues as a result, as is common in many cities throughout the world undergoing the same economic and infrastructural processes.
In 2019, Johor Bahru came in with a PM2.5 yearly average of 16.8 μg/m³, placing it in the ‘moderate’ pollution bracket, which requires a PM2.5 reading between 12.1 to 35.4 μg/m³ to be classified as such. This is an indicator that whilst Johor Bahru is not subject to the same catastrophic levels of pollution that some cities across Asia are often witness to, it has less than perfect levels of air quality and could improve them significantly with the appropriate measures. This reading of 16.8 μg/m³ placed it in 1098th place out of all cities ranked worldwide, as well as in 17th place out of all cities ranked in Malaysia.
As with many cities in Malaysia, one of the major sources of pollution continues to be that of automobiles, with a nationwide over reliance on cars being well known amongst locals. This massive overuse of personal vehicles such as cars and motorbikes, as well as the numerous heavy duty vehicles such as trucks or lorries also inhabiting the road, has led to a significant amount of year round ambient pollution elevations. Cars can put out worrying amounts of chemical pollutants, as well as fine particulate matter that can have an effect on both the health of Malaysian citizens as well as the environment and climate.
Other causes of pollution in Johor Bahru include emissions from factories, with the industrial and manufacturing sector often relying on fossil fuel sources such as coal for a majority of their energy, thus leading to a large output of smoke and related pollution, as well as any unique industrial effluence that is produced as a byproduct of the manufacturing process, affecting not only air pollution levels but also the water and soil. Whilst there are other causes of air pollution in Johor Bahru such as trans-boundary smoke blowing over from forest or farmland fires in Indonesia, as well as local manmade disasters occurring (such as the 2019 Kim Kim incident, which affected the water more so than the air), the largest contributors to year round ambient air pollution in the city are the first two mentioned factors, with the smoke from Indonesian fires being more responsible for sudden spikes in air pollution towards the end of the year for a shorter and more acute period of time.
With many of its months sitting within the moderate pollution bracket, and on occasion drifting higher due to both local and external sources of pollution, there is a raised chance for Johor Bahru’s inhabitants to suffer from adverse health effects as a result. Some of these would range from milder, short term ones such as increased instances of dry coughs, aggravation of preexisting respiratory conditions and irritation to the eyes, nose, mouth and skin.
Whilst these types of symptoms generally tend to happen in overly sensitive individuals and can abate quickly when pollution exposure is reduced, there are more serious long term health effects that can occur as well. These include a number of respiratory conditions, with pneumonia, bronchitis, emphysema and asthma topping the list, as well as damage to many other organs and internal systems when excessive and prolonged exposure occurs, due to fine particulate matter being able to enter the bloodstream via the lungs and cause widespread damage through the body.
Johor Bahru follows a similar pattern to many cities throughout Malaysia, and due to its close proximity to the Sumatran portion of Indonesia, sees the predictable rise in PM2.5 towards the end of the year, which when added together to its preexisting pollution levels, can cause dangerous levels of pollution buildups to occur.
As mentioned, the buildup at the end of the year is when the pollution level hits its highest point, with the month of July coming in at a standard level of 16 μg/m³, followed by a rise up to 18.4 μg/m³ in August, and then a further rise up to 30.1 μg/m³ in September, a number that is nearly double of the prior months reading, and in the upper echelons of the ‘moderate’ pollution bracket, only a few units away from moving up to the next pollution level ranking. It is during the month of September that the air quality in Johor Bahru is at its absolute worst, with preventative measures such as the wearing of particle filtering masks and avoiding outdoor exercise and activity become more of an important factor for personal health and wellbeing.
With the two main sources of its pollution arising from vehicle use, as well as emissions from factories and similar industrial zones or power plants, Johor Bahru would have a large amount of pollution related to the combustion of fossil fuels such as diesel and coal, as well as burnt organic matter travelling over from its neighboring country (along with occasional cases of similar events occurring locally, with the burning of waste materials and organic matter still happening from time to time).
Pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) would be found most prominently in the air over areas that see higher volumes of traffic, along with carbon monoxide (CO), black carbon and volatile organic compounds (VOC's). Some examples of these VOC's include chemicals such as formaldehyde, toluene, xylene and benzene, which find their release (along with black carbon) from the incomplete combustion of both fossil fuels and organic matter, as well as even being found emanating from various household products such as paints, varnishes and even adhesives found in many items of furniture, showing just how prevalent their reach can be.