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|3||Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu|
|5||Kuala Selangor, Selangor|
|6||Alor Setar, Kedah|
|8||Simpang Ampat, Penang|
|9||Johor Bahru, Johor|
(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
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|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Moderate|| 78 US AQI||PM2.5|
PM2.5 concentration in Ipoh is currently 5 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
| Sensitive groups should wear a mask outdoors|
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| Sensitive groups should run an air purifier|
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| Close your windows to avoid dirty outdoor air|
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| Sensitive groups should reduce outdoor exercise|
|Wednesday, Jun 7|
Moderate 63 US AQI
|Thursday, Jun 8|
Moderate 69 US AQI
|Friday, Jun 9|
Moderate 81 US AQI
Moderate 78 US AQI
|Sunday, Jun 11|
Moderate 60 US AQI
|Monday, Jun 12|
Moderate 55 US AQI
|Tuesday, Jun 13|
Moderate 63 US AQI
|Wednesday, Jun 14|
Moderate 59 US AQI
|Thursday, Jun 15|
Moderate 63 US AQI
|Friday, Jun 16|
Moderate 67 US AQI
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Ipoh is the capital city of the state of Perak, located in the high western region of peninsular Malaysia, some 180km north of Kuala Lumpur. It had a population of around 657,892 people living there as of 2010, a number that may have risen considerably since it was last taken. It has a reputation as being one of the cleaner cities located in peninsular Malaysia, and finds itself with the great luck of being somewhat (but not entirely) free from the terrible pollution spikes seen in September that often afflict many cities in Malaysia, south Thailand and Singapore during that part of the year, due to forest and farmland fires occurring in Indonesia, particularly the Sumatran island portion.
Regarding its levels of pollution, Ipoh came in with a PM2.5 average of 16.1 μg/m³ in 2019, placing it in the lower end of the ‘moderate’ pollution ratings bracket, which requires a PM2.5 reading of anywhere between 12.1 to 35.4 μg/m³ to be classified as such. This reading of 16.1 μg/m³ also placed it in 1144th place out of all cities ranked worldwide based on their pollution levels, as well as 22nd place out of all cities ranked in Malaysia, coming in just behind Balik Pulau and Balok.
Whilst this reading is fairly decent and not representing any overt dangers for its citizens, it still has a fair way to go if it is to reach the World Health organizations (WHO) target goal of 0 to 10 μg/m³ for the best possible quality of air, with any readings above this having possible ill effects on those who are exposed, and as such Ipoh could stand to improve its air quality, only being a few units away from breaking into the ‘good’ ratings bracket of 10 to 12 μg/m³.
Ipoh would have several different causes of pollution, all of which would compound together to see the heightened but somewhat stable readings present throughout the year. Ipoh can be referred to as more stable due to not having such massive spikes in PM2.5 readings in September, and for comparison, the city of Kuching saw a PM2.5 reading of 79.9 μg/m³ in September, as well as Sri Aman coming in at 92.3 μg/m³ in the same month.
These are extremely high readings, falling into the ‘unhealthy’ bracket, which requires a reading of anywhere between 55.5 to 150.4 μg/m³ to be classed as such. As the name implies, the air during this time would have a massive amount of detrimental effects on its citizens, causing a wide range of respiratory issues and increasing the mortality rate.
However, Ipoh’s main source of pollution would come from vehicular emissions, with large numbers of cars coming in and out of the city for touristic reasons, as well as the city being somewhat of a transit hub to Georgetown in Penang. For this reason, the large volumes of traffic would bring up the ambient year round readings.
Other causes of pollution would include emissions from factories, which run on fossil fuels such as coal, as well as releasing their own unique industrial effluence based on whatever product they are creating, which can have negative consequences on both the air quality, as well as running into nearby rivers and causing damage to the ecosystem.
Observing the data taken over 2019, the months that came in with the cleanest readings of PM2.5 were at the very end of the year, although it should be noted that Ipoh displays fairly consistent readings of pollution throughout the year, not moving out of its moderate ratings bracket.
The cleanest months on record were October, November and December, with PM2.5 readings of 13.5 μg/m³, 12.3 μg/m³ and 12.7 μg/m³ respectively. This shows that the cleanest month out of the entire year was November, with May also coming in with a fairly respectable reading of 13 μg/m³, only 1 unit away from moving down into the ‘good’ ratings category.
As touched on before, many cities in the region as well as neighboring countries see a dramatic leap in pollution during the month of September, and indeed Ipoh was no exception to this, however as stated it managed to avoid the extra high levels of smoke, haze and smog as seen in other cities. September in Ipoh came in at 29.8 μg/m³, nearly three times that of its cleanest reading, yet still within the moderate bracket.
For those that have sensitivities to chemicals or pollutants, preventative measures may be of greater importance during this time of the year, with the wearing of fine particle filtering masks and avoiding outdoor activities becoming evermore important for those who wish to avoid the negative side effects of breathing polluted air. other methods in which one may stay up to date would be the use of air quality maps as available on the IQAir website, as well as a more portable version on the AirVisual app.
Whilst Ipoh is generally touted as one of the cleaner cities in Malaysia, coming in without any drastic levels of pollution, save for the month of September, it would have air quality that is not as detrimental to its citizens. However, as mentioned, any pollution reading above the WHO’s target goal of under 10 μg/m³ may come with accompanying health effects.
Some of these would include rapid aging and scarring of the lungs, leading to a reduction in full lung function as well as greater susceptibility towards respiratory ailments, all of which would fall under the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease’s (COPD) bracket, which include ones such as bronchitis, pneumonia, emphysema and aggravated asthma.
Asthma in particular can be very easily triggered by pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, as well as black carbon and soot released from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and diesel. Other health symptoms would include ones such as ischemic heart disease, damage to the blood vessels as well as the liver and kidneys, along with a reduction in fertility rates due to damage being sustained to the reproductive systems.
These are but a few of the health conditions that can occur when polluted air is respired over longer periods of time, with even short term problems such as irritation to the skin, eyes, nose and mouth also occurring.
1 Data source