The concentration of major air pollutants during the movement control order due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the Klang Valley, Malaysia

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Sustainable Cities and Society


The COVID-19 pandemic forced many governments across the world to implement some form of lockdown to minimalize the spread of the virus. On 18th March 2020, the Malaysian government put into action an enforced movement control order (MCO) to reduce the numbers of infections. This study aims to investigate the concentrations of air pollutants during the MCO in the Klang Valley. The concentrations of air pollutants were recorded by the continuous air quality monitoring system (CAQMS) operated by the Department of Environment. The results showed that there were significant reductions (p < 0.05) of PM , PM , NO and CO during the MCO compared with the same periods in 2019 and 2018. The highest percentage of reduction during the MCO was recorded by NO with a percentage reduction of between −55 % and −72 %. O concentrations at several stations showed an increase due to the reductions of its precursors such as NO. Further investigation using diurnal patterns of air pollutant concentrations both before and during the MCO showed that NO and CO were both reduced significantly during the rush hours, indicating the reduction in motor vehicles on the roads as a consequence of the MCO influenced the levels of these pollutants. 10 2.5 2 2 3 2

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