It’s blue skies and cleaner air in KL, since virus-forced MCO

It is clear blue skies in the city of Kuala Lumpur. Photo courtesy of BERNAMA.

PUTRAJAYA, March 31 (NNN-BERNAMA) — The Movement Control Order enforced in Malaysia from March 18, has been seeing some good news as far as the environment is concerned.

As of Tuesday, the last day of the first phase of the MCO, the order has not only helped to break the chain of the COVID-19 spread, it has in fact reduced environmental pollution as well, said Environment Minister Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man.  

File photo of Malaysia’s Minister of Environment Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man. Photo courtesy of BERNAMA.

This follows a reduction of activities such as vehicle exhaust emission, industrial stack emission and open burning, he said.  

He said a detailed analysis by the Department of Environment (DOE) on several main parameters namely nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulphur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO) and fine particles of 2.5 microns (PM2.5) found their levels have fallen significantly.

 Tuan Ibrahim said the monitoring was conducted at the air quality monitoring stations in Batu Muda and Cheras in Kuala Lumpur as well as Putrajaya.    

“All three areas recorded marked drop of between 55 to 68 per cent for NO2; 17 to 34 per cent for SO2; six to 15 per cent for CO; and six to 14 per cent for PM2.5,” he said in a statement here today.

Tuan Ibrahim said apart from that, DOE also expanded the analysis to air quality monitoring stations at several major cities such as Shah Alam, Ipoh, Penang, Kuantan, Seremban, Melaka, Johor Bahru, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu for the same period.

“The findings also showed significant fall in each parameter with NO2 reduced between 11 to 62 per cent, SO2 between five to 22 per cent, CO between two to 25 per cent and PM2.5 between two to 23 per cent,” he said.

The latest hourly Air Pollutant Index (API) is available on DOE website at or by downloading the official smart phone application, MyIPU via Android Google Play and at Apple App Store.

Tuan Ibrahim also advised the people not to carry out opening burning to reduce the risk of fires in the hot and dry weather now.

Members of the public can report cases of open burning to the Fire and Rescue Department at 999 or  DOE’s toll free line at 1-800-88-2727.