KUALA LUMPUR – Sept 29, 2015: There should be no doubts over the accuracy of air pollution index (API) readings provided by Department of Environment (DoE) as the equipment used to produce it is internationally certified.
DoE director-general Datuk Halimah Hassan told The Mole that Malaysians should not trust any other API readings than the official figures as they were obtained from sophisticated and certified meteorological equipment.
She said even the method of calculating the API readings were done in accordance with the international standard protocol set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA).
“Currently, the DoE is using the European Union (EU) certified BAM 1020 E-series to continuously monitor the readings of the particulate matter (PM10) pollution.
“We have 52 units of it and it is evenly placed throughout the country.
“As for the calculation method, we have been using the Class III Federal Equivalent Method (FEM) PM10 (EQPM-0798-122) to produce the air quality data.
“These air quality data then undergoes stringent quality assessment and quality control process (QAQC) before being disseminated to the public,” she wrote via email.
There have been allegations in the social media by several Malaysians who were doubtful of the official API readings provided by DoE.
They claimed to have obtained different API readings, using their own equipment, that were ‘off-the-charts’ as compared to DoE’s readings.
Halimah also assured Malaysians that the haze will subside from now on as the country was entering its annual rainy season.
“We expect frequent rainfall will occur in the evening till dusk in the peninsular west coast and the western regions of Sarawak,” Halimah explained.
The haze currently plaguing the country originated from the burning of forests in Sumatra and Kalimantan, allegedly done by several plantation companies.
Indonesian president Joko Widodo had directed the country’s authorities to revoke the licenses of some companies found to be involved in open burning.
He reportedly said that there was only one method to control the forest fires in Indonesia, which was to ban open burning.
However, according to Association of Plantation Investors of Malaysia in Indonesia (APIMI) chief representative Nor Hazlan Abdul Mutalib none of the Malaysian plantation companies operating in Indonesia were involved in such malpractices.
For more information on the current official API readings visit http://apims.doe.gov.my/v2/ or you can download the ‘MyIPU’ app on your smartphone via Google Play or App Store.