Water and air quality data must be made transparent

Water and air quality data must be made transparent

IN the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, data from monitoring of the water and air quality by the Department of Environment should be made public to enable better understanding of human behaviour and to facilitate better prediction of future scenarios.

Patterns from monitoring exercises will enable authorities to compare the various trends in human consumption because the movement control order (MCO) exercise has affected both water and air quality differently.

Moreover, these numbers will also reveal behavioural patterns and future steps that are necessary to remedy bad situations quickly before matters get out of hand, according to EcoKnights vice president Amlir Ayat.

“This data which should be transparently disclosed to the people will assist the public and decision-makers in designing more effective and efficient measures towards achieving sustainability, specifically in terms of the goals under Sustainable Development 2030 (SDG2030),” he told FocusM.

Adopted by all United Nations’ member states in 2015, the SDG2030 agenda provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet – now and into the future.

Amlir Ayat

“Combination of data from other social and economic parameters including those from other countries will enable us to draw better solutions towards the improvement of the people’s quality of lives, the ultimate mission of sustainability,” he pointed out.

Studies found that during the first week of the MCO, the average air pollution level dropped slightly compared to the days before the MCO.

In May, Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) welcomed the proposal by the Ministry of Environment and Water to monitor the environment by ensuring there is no pollution especially during the MCO.

Amlir stressed that as the MCO continues to change according to statistics of COVID-19 cases, the relevant authorities should be studying the changes in pollutant levels at different zones on a regular basis.

“Right now, some statistics on their website are updated, while not for others. Some of this information is not even shared with other agencies.

“Monitoring data is important so that we can learn from our past shortcomings and be better prepared in the future. We have to focus on establishing a proper flow of channeling of information.

“We (the public) have a right to this data as water and air quality directly affects our health, livelihood and well-being. We can’t fix what we don’t know, so show us the numbers,” added Amlir. – Dec 15, 2020.