KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 26, 2015;

“PM2.5 readings became available in Malaysia three years ago.”

So said Progressive Impact Corporation Berhad (Picorp) executive deputy chairman Zaid Abdullah regarding measurement of particles less than 2.5 microns (PM2.5) in size.

At present bigger particles of 10 microns (PM10) are measured at monitoring stations for the Air Pollutant Index (API), used to measure the amount of pollution in the air during the hazy season now.

In detailing this to The Rakyat Post recently, Zaid said the Bumiputera-owned company brought the PM2.5 technology from the United States and owned three of these units, which were currently in use.

One of the units is installed at the Sepang International Circuit (SIC), used in the company’s research and development. The readings, it is learned, are not made public.

Zaid stated that the company was open to cooperation with the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, through the Department of Environment (DoE), for their expertise to be fully utilised, considering the nation gets plagued by haze on a yearly basis.

“We have the technology and it is ready to be used at any moment. With the PM2.5 readings, we read ‘matter pollution’ that is more minute to better reflect the reality of the situation.

“Our company is also prepared to upgrade from PM10 to PM2.5 all current air quality monitoring stations in the country within three months,” he said when contacted by The Rakyat Post.

Yesterday, the government agreed to approve the construction of 13 new air quality monitoring stations that can chart API readings and measure particles as small as PM2.5, compared with units reading PM10 particles in use at 52 monitoring stations around the nation.

Local daily Utusan Malaysia reported Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar as saying that discussions were under way to determine the allocation needed to construct these monitoring stations.

The estimated cost of the project is around RM1 billion.

The project, said Wan Junaidi, would break ground next year. It was expected to take four to five months to be completed and become operational in 2017.

Recently, members of the public took to questioning the API readings announced by the DoE as not reflecting what they were seeing after haze blanketed parts of the country.

They drew comparison to the readings in Singapore which were said to reflect the situation better. It was then revealed that Singapore had adopted the PM2.5 method.

Zaid said the PM10 standard was recognised by the World Health Organization (WHO), although he admitted that some nations had moved forward and were using the PM2.5 readings.

“An example would be Singapore where for every five units of PM10 installed, one would be for PM2.5.

“This is why their readings are more accurate compared with that in Malaysia.”

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