Current air quality of Yangon can’t still hurt health

20 February 2020

The Department of Meteorology and Hydrology (Kaba Aye) Station, the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) and NGO organizations are measuring the air quality level in Yangon, the commercial hub of the country almost every day. Yangon is now facing daily heavy traffic with a gradual increase in its population.

Speaking to MI Radio how to measure air quality in Yangon, U Cho Tun Aung, Head of Environmental Conservation and Sanitation Department (Yangon), said “Air pollution should not be measured only at a single place. Everywhere in Yangon it should be measured. In order to get an actual index, equipment has to measure at a place for 24 hours. The next thing is that the measurement must be carried out in times of the heaviest traffic and of the hottest weather. If so, the air quality index remains the highest. Measuring the air quality only at a single time may not give the right index. All the measurements of the 24 hours should be taken into consideration.  Another point is daily air quality indexes. The right air quality index should be released following the detailed review.”

According to the measurement of air quality of Yangon by the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology (Kaba Aye) Station, it shows 80 AQI on 10 February, 95 on 11 February, 87 on 16 February and 70 on 17 February respectively.

Regarding the effect of air quality index on the health, zero to 50 AQI indicates a good level and 51 to 100 AQI, a medium level as well. These levels can’t have effect on the health.

According to the report of the DHM, the level of 101 to 150 AQI can have negative effect on those who are unfit, causing respiratory problems. It also can affect on those suffering heart attack and the children.

U Cho Tun Aung, who is Head of Environmental Conservation and Sanitation Department (Yangon), speaking to MI Radio regarding the air pollution the YCDC is waiting for the instructions of Yangon Region Government, he said, “Although our department does not release official news about the air pollution of Yangon at present, on the behalf of the State, the DHM has released the report already. For this I don’t need to say particularly. Our YCDC will have to announce what the people will have to follow the instructions on preventive measures when Yangon Region Government instructs us.”

According to the press conference held by the Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) on 17 February, the reason of being 50 to 100 AQI in Yangon is due to burning of stubble, rubbish and dry leaves, emission of fumes from the industries and factories, smokes and dust coming from the vehicles and the particles thrown from the construction sites. The department concerns are working together in the reduction of air pollution.

Speaking to MI Radio how many hours are needed to measure air quality, Daw Hlaing Maw Oo, Secretary of Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC), said “Air quality must be measured for 48 hours although it is said 24 hours measurement. It is learnt that the air quality measurement by the NGOs is not long like that. The DHM has places to measure air quality in Yangon where there are measurement systems. We have a plan to measure air quality at 47 places in Yangon in partnership with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation. The air pollution in Yangon has been measured at 67 points since 2016. The key three points are the place in front of Yangon City Hall, the place of Hledan roundabout and the place of Mingaladon. The remaining 64 points were measured by mobile system.


Min Tun and Ye Naing