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Unhealthy for sensitive groups
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Unhealthy for sensitive groups|| 148 US AQI||PM2.5|
PM2.5 concentration in Klang is currently 11 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
|Monday, Sep 25|
Moderate 73 AQI US
|Tuesday, Sep 26|
Moderate 87 AQI US
|Wednesday, Sep 27|
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 146 AQI US
Unhealthy for sensitive groups 148 AQI US
|Friday, Sep 29|
Moderate 65 AQI US
|Saturday, Sep 30|
Moderate 65 AQI US
|Sunday, Oct 1|
Moderate 74 AQI US
|Monday, Oct 2|
Moderate 62 AQI US
|Tuesday, Oct 3|
Moderate 54 AQI US
|Wednesday, Oct 4|
Good 45 AQI US
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Klang or Kelang, officially Royal Town of Klang, is a royal town and former capital of the state of Selangor, Malaysia. Port Klang is the 12th busiest transhipment port and the 12th busiest container port in the world. According to a 2010 census, Klang had an estimated population of approximately 240,016 people, of which 10,500 lived in the city itself.
Towards the middle of2021, Klang was experiencing a period of “Moderate” quality air with a US AQI reading of 89. This United States Air Quality Index number is an internationally used set of metrics supported by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and is used to compare the air quality in different cities throughout the world using comparable standards. It is calculated by using the levels of the six most commonly found pollutants. If figures are not all available, the figure is calculated using what information is available. In the case of Klang, the only recorded figure was PM2.5 which was 30.2 µg/m³. This is over three times higher than the WHO recommended maximum exposure level.
With the measurement being at this level, the advice is to close doors and windows to prevent more polluted air from entering the room. Those of a sensitive disposition are advised to remain indoors or if travel outside is unavoidable, then a good quality mask is recommended.
The table at the top of this page will help with that decision.
Air pollution can be highly volatile and is affected by many variables, such as the seasons of the year, the wind speed and direction and the strength and length of sunshine hours. Looking back at the 2020 figures released by the Swiss air monitoring company, IQAir.com, it can be seen that Klang experienced “Moderate” quality air for 11 months of the year with readings between 12.1 and 35.4 µg/m³. The twelfth month of August returned figures which placed the air quality in the “Unhealthy for sensitive groups” bracket with readings between 12.1 and 35.4 µg/m³.
Records of air quality were first kept in 2019 when the recorded figure was 20.7 µg/m³ and the following year saw a slight increase to 28.4 µg/m³. ³. However, this may not be a truly accurate reading because of the restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many vehicles were temporarily unused as the drivers were furloughed and allowed to work from home where possible, and not required to commute to and from work. There were also many factories and other non-essential production units which were temporarily closed in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus.
One of the main sources of air pollution in Klang comes from the burning of stubble in the surrounding areas and even from neighbouring Indonesia. The level of pollution is affected by the prevailing winds.
The preference of using private cars is a common practice in Malaysia, resulting in the after-effects of haze and transboundary air pollution, it also contributes to high ozone concentrations in the suburban areas. Malaysia has one of the highest levels of car ownership per person in the world and this has led to very high levels of carbon monoxide pollution in all its major cities.
The second is the trans-boundary pollution that is caused by the burning of Indonesian rain forests to provide land to plant palm oil. Indonesia is the world’s largest producer of palm oil and much of its recent high levels of economic growth are based on this single industry. Multi-national conglomerates pay the local community to burn the land in order to increase the fertile land.
Reducing levels of global air pollution is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) agreed by 193 world leaders as a blueprint for development over the period 2015-2030. SDG 11 seeks to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable and one of the 10 targets associated with this goal focuses on pollution.
Finding solutions to Malaysia’s air pollution problems requires solutions at the local, national and international levels. The first two are relatively easy to introduce; the latter will take much more time and good will and will require the help of ASEAN, the South-East Asian grouping of 11 independent states.
Malaysia has pledged to cut carbon emissions intensity by 45 per cent by 2030. The government has introduced a range of air quality control measures for vehicles that are in line with European standards. These include setting emission ceilings for vehicles, improving fuel quality, reducing the use of diesel fuels, promoting non-motorised forms of transport at the local level.
Particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10)) means solid or liquid particles of smoke, dust, and other things that are suspended in the air. When air is polluted with particulate matter, these particles enter our breathing system with the oxygen our body needs.
When the particulate matter enters our nose or mouth as we breathe, the fate of each particle depends on its size because the smaller the particles, the more they go inside our body. PM with diameter less than 10 micrometres 10 particles are included in the 'fully suspended substances' (TSP). They are so small that the hairs in the nose cannot stop their progress and so they are inhaled. They pass through our respiratory tract into our lungs where the metal elements present on the surface of the particles oxidize the lung cells, damage their DNA and increase the risk of causing cancer. Particle contact with the lung cells causes swelling, irritation, disturbance, and obstruction of air flow causing lung breathing difficulties such as COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder), Cystic Lung Disease, and bronchitis. The risk of diseases increases.
Smaller particles - PM2.5, i.e. particles less than 2.5 micrometres in diameter - are even more lethal. In addition to increasing the risk of lung disease, PM2.5 is able to travel deeply into the bronchial tubes before reaching the alveoli. PM2.5 enters the bloodstream through the alveoli which makes them narrow by creating inflammation in the blood vessels or by making fatty scabs. This increases blood pressure or causes blood clots to form. Due to this, the flow of blood reaching the heart and brain can be stopped, which can lead to stroke or heart attack. In recent years, researchers have begun to notice that particulate matter pollution is also associated with a decrease in cognitive functions.