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

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • Shipwreck found off coast of Koh Kong

    Royal Cambodian Navy researchers are working to identify a decades-old shipwreck found earlier this month off the coast of Koh Kong province. Divers found the 70-metre-long wreck on April 4 about a mile from Koh Chhlam island, according to Navy officials. Deputy Navy Commander Tea Sokha,