Bangla Sunday, September 20, 2020

Yangon pollution hits danger levels each morning: Monitors

Yangon Air Quality (YAQ), a team monitoring the condition of the city’s air, has called on residents to wear masks as pollution has reached the “red stage” that can affect health.

The team was formed in 2018 by Dr. Kirt Page, an academic adviser at the American University of Yangon, with six of his students.

The team has been recording Yangon’s air quality with six monitors and sharing the data on Facebook.

On Tuesday morning, Yangon reached the red stage of air pollution with an air-quality index (AQI) value of 173, which can affect health.

Ma Myat Phoo Pwint Kyaw, a member of YAQ, told The Irrawaddy that Yangon since November 2019 had recorded red stage air pollution every morning and the orange stage each evening.

Orange pollution measures an AQI from 101 to 150, which might affect sensitive people.

The red stage measures 150 to 200 and may begin to have health effects for everyone and sensitive people may suffer seriously.

Hazardous levels are marked maroon with results over 300, triggering emergency conditions when everyone is expected to suffer serious effects.

According to YAQ, Yangon reached the purple stage last month with levels from 201 to 300.

“People are gaining an awareness of air pollution. Wearing a mask is appropriate,” said Ma Myat Phoo Pwint Kyaw.

She said people should avoid using cars but instead opt for public transport.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that air pollution is a major cause of death and disease.

An estimated 4.2 million premature deaths globally – mainly from heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer and acute respiratory infections in children – are linked to air pollution, according to the WHO.

The World Bank said in 2017 that air pollution was to blame for more than 45,000 premature deaths in Myanmar.

According to AirVisual, an application that monitors air quality, today Beijing was in the purple stage of air pollution with an AQI value of 283, meaning everyone may experience serious health effects.

Yangon, Bangkok and Chiang Mai all recorded similar air pollution in the orange stage with AQI values of 101 to 150, according to AirVisual.