UKM Pakarunding To Revamp Method of Air Quality Index

Seminar participants of Project to review Air Pollution Index and Ozone in October at Putrajaya

By Saiful Bahri Kamaruddin
Pix UKM Pakarunding Sdn Bhd

16 November 2015 – The Air Quality Division of the Department of Environment (DOE) has appointed UKM Pakarunding Sdn Bhd to undertake two projects; to revamp the Air Pollution Index (API) and to carry out an Ozone Pollution Study nationwide.

Both of these studies have been finalised and a workshop was held in Putrajaya recently to fine-tune the final report, said the Director of Business Development of UKM Pakarunding Syamsul Amri Abdul Razak.

Syansul Amri said these projects are strategic and will impact on policy involving a special task force to be led by Prof Dr Talib Bin Latif of the Institute for Environment and Development (LESTARI) of The National University of Malaysia (UKM).

“Other members of the team that will be reviewing the API consists of Dr Liew Juneng (Consultant), Dr Mohd Shahrul Bin Mohd Nadzir (Consultant), Dr. Md Firoz Khan (Consultant), Fatimah Ahamad Pk (Research Assistant), Chung Jing Xiang (Research Assistant), Intan Suraya Binti Abdul Razak (Project Manager) and Khairul Ridzuan Bin Ya’akub (Project Executive).

“These studies do not involve field work but focus on workshops, discussions and evaluation, as well as desktop appraisal and reports required by the DOE Malaysia,” he explained.

Introduction: Project Review of Air Pollutant Index (API)

According to him, the Air Pollution Index (API) is used to provide a quick, accurate and easy way to understand the status of air quality in an area.

“The API enables the public to determine the air quality in an area whether it is good, average, unhealthy, very unhealthy and hazardous.

“The existing API is calculated based on the five major air pollutants contained in the Ambient Air Quality Guidelines Malaysia which was introduced in 1989, namely the suspended particulate size of 10 micrometers or less (PM10), sulfur dioxide (SO2), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) and earth level ozone (O3), ” he said.

However, he stressed the Ambient Air Quality Guidelines Malaysia have been updated and upgraded to the Ambient Air Quality Standard Malaysia in 2014. The upgrading on existing guidelines shall include the following: –

  1. Adding the parameter for fine suspended particulate size of 2.5 micrometers or less (PM5).
  2. Setting new concentration limits for air pollutants such as PM10, SO2, CO, NO2 and O3. The concentration limit would be phased in three interim target levels of interim 1 (IT-1) in 2015, the interim 2 (IT-2) in 2018 and the full standard usage by 2020.
  3. Objective Review of the API is in line with the Malaysian Ambient Air Quality Standard 2013, which is to develop a new methodology of calculation of the API, to make a comparison between the existing API to the new API, and suggest categories for air quality based on the new API.

Ozone Pollution Project Identification Study in Malaysia

Ground-level ozone is a secondary pollutant in the atmosphere. Hazardous ground-level ozone are formed by the reaction of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxides (NOX) in the presence of heat and sunlight. VOC and NOX are the pollutants from various sources such as motor vehicles, chemical plants, oil refineries, electric power plants and other combustion sources.

Ground-level ozone can be formed move away from the source of formation according to the wind direction.

Ground-level ozone can show a variety of adverse effects on humans and plants. Exposure to ground-level ozone are often associated with respiratory system problems. It not only reduces the body’s resistance against infections, but also long-term exposure can lead to deterioration of lung function and inflammation of the lining of the lungs.

To minimize the effects of ground-level ozone pollution from becoming too hazardous, an action pelan for early information and should be developed. Therefore, this study is undertaken to address the issue of ground-level ozone pollution throughout Malaysia.

The aim of the Ozone Pollution study is to identify the causes, assist policy makers in formulating policies and strategies to address the issue of ozone pollution and investigate, analyze and develop an action plan for the reduction of pollutants that contribute (precursor) to the formation of ozone pollutants.

It will also recommend measures of prevention, monitoring and compliance activities that contribute to ozone pollution reduction.

UKM Pakarunding Sdn Bhd is the consultancy arm of UKM which markets the expertise of the university’s academics and researchers.ukmnewsportal-eg

A presentation during the API Review and Ozone Study Seminar