KL traffic jams could trigger an urban heat island, experts say


KUALA LUMPUR: The recent sharp increase in the number of vehicles on the roads of the federal capital could lead to the urban heat island effect (UHI), where temperatures in the city are warmer than in the suburbs.

Professor Muhammad Zaly Shah Muhammad Hussein, director of the Center for Innovative Planning and Development at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, said the phenomenon is aggravated by densely constructed buildings and paved road surfaces which can form a trapped heat island. in a locality.

“A study was carried out in the central business district of Bukit Bintang; when there are traffic jams on roads filled with high-rise buildings, the exhaust gases released cannot disperse into the air but are trapped to create a heat bubble.

“The situation affects city dwellers with higher utility costs as well as increased energy consumption in buildings to cool the (higher temperature) situation, thereby increasing the greenhouse gas content” , he told Bernama.

Deputy Federal Lands Minister Datuk Seri Jalaluddin Alias ​​reportedly said the federal capital saw a 45% increase in the number of vehicles, with 46.76 million registered in December 2021 compared to 26.51 million in December 2019.

Muhammad Zaly Shah said the likelihood of the UHI phenomenon occurring is very high in hot and dry weather, with temperatures rising between one and two degrees Celsius above normal temperatures.

He also pointed out that the air quality was obviously better during the implementation of the movement control order (MCO) due to a smaller volume of vehicles entering the city, but deteriorated after lifting the MCO.

“For comparison, on March 18, 2020 (during MCO), the Air Quality Index (AQI) in Kuala Lumpur was 50 points, but on May 1 this year, it was 72 points. . The higher the AQI value, the lower the air. quality,” he said.

Meanwhile, Professor Mohd Talib Latif – the head of the sustainable resources, environment and smart life research group, Center for IDEA-Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia – said the number of vehicles was directly proportional to the pollution .

He said the higher the number of vehicles, the higher the levels of air, noise and vibration pollution.

Mohd Talib said gases and fine particles released by vehicles such as carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and “particulate matter 2.5” have relatively high concentrations on congested roads.

“Although air pollutants do not necessarily pose an immediate danger to the human respiratory system, they can have long-term health effects and contribute to climate change and global warming via greenhouse gas emissions. such as carbon dioxide,” he said. Bernama


Comments are closed.