Unhealthy air levels in parts of Kedah, Kelantan, Selangor, FT, Negeri Sembilan

Air Quality Index map courtesy of IQAir.

KUALA LUMPUR, June 14: Air quality stood at unhealthy levesl in several parts of the country, with Alor Setar in Kedah continuing to record above 160 in the last few days, while Kampung Baru Subang (158), Klang (152) and Banting (164) also continued to record high API levels.

Other parts of Selangor recorded unhealthy levels for sensitive people while Tanah Merah in Kelantan recorded 100, a drop from the last few days, while Nilai in Negeri Sembilan recorded unhealthy API at 152, while parts of Melaka recorded APIs of 123 and 126. Batu Pahat, Parit Sulong in Johor recorded an API of 107.

Kuala Lumpur (119), Petaling Jaya (110), Shah Alam (126), all recorded unhealthy levels of air that could impact those with respiratory issues.

Most of these places also recorded high levels of particle pollution from fine particulates or PM2.5, exceeding by many times the annual air quality average set by the World Health Organization (WHO). In Banting, the PM2.5 concentration stood at 74.2µg/m³ -14.8 times the WHO’s annual air quality guideline value.

Industrial pollution, fires, emissions from industrial plants, vehicles and deforestation are contributors to air pollution. A dry weather and winds from ongoing fires in some parts make air pollution worse.

While some major cities in the world are suffering exceedingly polluted air, both from natural sources of pollution and industrialisation, Malaysia’s fortune for cleaner air in many parts of its country can be attributed to its reasonably intact rainforests despite its expanding urbanisation, industrialisation and commercial crop projects.

Not only sensitive people are affected by polluted air, as prolonged exposure can put even healthy people at possible risk for various ailments including heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmony disease, lung cancer, according to several studies.