Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Monitor to help analyse pollution

Monitor to help analyse pollution

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A man wears a mask as smoke is released from a factory chimney behind him yesterday in Phnom Penh. The Ministry of Environment will begin keeping tabs the city’s air quality with a PM2.5 monitor. Hong Menea

Monitor to help analyse pollution

An air quality monitoring system may finally be materialising in the Kingdom’s capital, following a donation of a monitor to the Ministry of Environment last week.

Minister of Environment Say Sam Al yesterday confirmed that the ministry has received the monitor, which detects harmful airborne particles called PM2.5, from the Japan-based Asia Center for Air Pollution Research.

According to Heng Nareth, director-general of environmental protection at the ministry, the monitoring is a first for the government. “From now on, we can get real-time data [on air quality], and we can evaluate the situation in Phnom Penh,” he said.

Nareth added that the monitor, installed at the top of the ministry’s building, is already recording data.“Data has already been recorded [but] we have not yet connected [the monitor] to the server,” he said, adding that the information collected will eventually be made available online.

When asked about the country’s air pollution status, Nareth conceded that the lack of monitoring in the past had constrained their ability to study it.

In fact, Cambodia has not been included in the World Health Organization’s Global Urban Ambient Air Pollution Database, which provides data on air pollution levels in 3,000 cities in 103 countries.

James Rarick, team leader for the noncommunicable diseases unit at WHO Cambodia, said in an email yesterday that this is due to insufficient data.

“The addition of the new PM2.5 monitor will be important to improve the city’s capacity to measure ambient air pollution levels and should help to have data for Phnom Penh included in the future,” he wrote.

Rarick added that according to the organisation’s estimates, more than four in five people in urban areas where air pollution is monitored are exposed to air pollutant levels exceeding WHO’s limits.

“While all regions of the world are affected, populations in low-income cities are the most impacted,” he said, adding that 98 percent of cities in low- and middle-income countries with more than 100,000 inhabitants fail to meet WHO air-quality guidelines.

“As urban air quality declines, the risk of stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma, increases,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Kem Sokha’s daughters slam ‘liar’ Sam Rainsy over ‘smears’

    The daughters of former opposition leader Kem Sokha hit out at Sam Rainsy on Tuesday, accusing the newly nominated “acting president” of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) of leading a “smear campaign” against their father and “repeatedly lying to the public”. The Supreme Court-dissolved

  • US Embassy urges reconciliation

    The US has urged Cambodia to restore the independence of the media, drop charges against Kem Sokha and other political prisoners, and end the prohibition of political activity by opposition parties. However, senior government officials see the request, issued by US embassy spokesman Arend C

  • Phnom Penh authorities ban march for Human Rights Day

    Phnom Penh authorities have banned a planned march as local NGOs and workers’ unions gear up to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on Monday, with a youth group leader saying they would march nonetheless. The UN

  • Government deports 235 Chinese scammers

    THE Immigration Department of the Ministry of Interior on Thursday deported 235 Chinese nationals, 35 of whom were female, via the Phnom Penh International Airport for their part in a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) online money extortion scam. The deportees were arrested on November 26 over the