16 January 2021 - Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

As soon as attempts are being made to carry out the country's economic and social developments and create livelihoods and job employments, favourable conditions have been already seen in all aspects of the country. With these good foundations, the government is striving for development works in all parts of the country with might and main. To do so, the participation of all the people is of importance and basic health service to be provided for the public is one of the key factors. To help the people residing across the country with good practice of public health, the government will establish air quality monitoring stations in the places where necessary.
With the aim of helping the basic health of the national ethnics residing in the regions and states, the government is to build air quality monitoring stations, for that reason, the local people are going to have access to right data about air quality, thereby contributing to a better natural environment.
Air quality monitoring stations will be established three in Yangon region, three in Mandalay Region and one in Nay Pyi Taw respectively. It is actually seven fixed type air quality monitoring stations that are to be built at the cost of USD9.4 million, revealed in the project.
In addition to these seven type air quality monitoring stations, five mobile type air quality monitoring stations will be constructed one in Nay Pyi Taw, one in Yangon Region, one in Mandalay Region, one in Shan State and one in Sagaing Region, according to Myanmar Project Bank.
The project will commence in 2020-2021 financial years and conclude in 2022-2023 FY. The Environmental Conservation Department under the control of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation is the implementing government agency.
The project will provide support in formulating environmental regulations and quality standards to mitigate the impact of air pollution on public health and build the capacity of the Environmental Conservation Department (ECD) in air quality monitoring.
Dr Kyaw Moe Oo, Director-General of Department of Meteorology and Hydrology, said that the establishment of air quality monitoring stations would be extended to all parts of the country one year after another. Smaller amount of government budget will have to be spent in this move to go ahead as planned, and air quality measuring machines will have to be bought as well.
The air quality monitoring stations from Yangon and Mandalay are currently operational with the data sent to Japan to perform a regular analysis, according to an official release of the DMH. The air quality in Yangon during earlier moments of the Covid-19 crisis has faced a considerable decrease due to the closure of industrial zones and factories with lesser volumes of traffic.
The air quality measuring machine installed by Heinrich Boll Stiftung from German indicated that the Yangon's air from 9 am to 10 am in the morning and from 8 pm and 10 pm in the night is the most polluted moments. Yangon, a commercial city of Myanmar, has the highest number of vehicles with a host of industrial zones with industries and factories.
These situations encourage a mass emission of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, causing Yangon to be the city with the most air pollution. It seems essential for people to have health awareness of effort to curb the emission level of carbon dioxide without having a bad effect on the natural environment.

The photo shows an air quality monitoring station.

The air quality index (AQI) is divided into six categories, each corresponding to a different level of health concern. When it is symbolized by the colour green, an AQI ranging from 0 to 50 is considered "good," and air pollution poses little to no risk. When the AQI ranges from 51-100, the health concern level is "moderate" and symbolized by the colour yellow. In this range, air quality conditions are acceptable; however, people who are unusually sensitive to ozone may experience respiratory symptoms.
When the AQI ranges from 101 to 150, air quality conditions are "unhealthy for sensitive groups," which is symbolized by the colour orange. People with lung disease, older adults and children, are at greater risk from exposure to ozone, while those with heart and lung disease, older adults and children are at greater risk from the presence of particles in the air. An AQI from 151 to 200 represents "unhealthy" air quality conditions and is symbolized by the colour red. At this AQI, everyone may begin to experience some adverse health effects, and members of the sensitive groups may experience more serious effects. Any AQI from 201-500, is considered "very unhealthy" or "hazardous," and can trigger negative health effects and health warnings for the entire population. More efforts are being put into the establishment of the air quality monitoring stations wherever necessary.
The use of vehicles, burning of rubbish and plastic, use of fossil fuels, deforestation, nationwide construction of concrete roads, and releasing particles from the construction sites are taking place these days. The volume of local and foreign investments flowing into the country has become bigger, bringing better opportunities capable of improving economy, infrastructure and employment. These situations make it essential for us to strive for control over the air quality to reduce the carbon dioxide emission level.
The WHO measured air quality in 400 world cities and Yangon's particle composition in the air quality is a little more than the regular level. The ministry concerned is closely working together with the Yangon Region government and Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC) to make it known to the public constantly.
Air Visual website announced air quality indexes on 12 May in 2019 which Myanmar stood seven in the list of poor air cities with AQI values 143.
With the ambitious plan for ensuring the emergence of a healthy society and mitigation in natural environmental degradation, the government has decided to establish air quality monitoring stations in all parts of the country.

By Zin Lin Myint, Translated by Htut Htut (Twantay)