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View the document Indoor Air Pollution in Rural Malaysia
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Indoor Air Pollution in Rural Malaysia

by Azman Zainal Abidin and M.A.K. Lodhi, December 1989 (abridged)

Faculty of Science and Environmental Studies, University Pertanian Malaysia, 43400 UPM Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia

In Malaysia, virtually no study has been conducted to look into the air pollution situation existing in a kitchen environment until this study was done. A preliminary study was carried out by the University with cooperation from the Western Pacific Regional Centre for the Promotion of Envirornmental Planning and Applied Sciences (PEPAS). Two villages were selected for the study, mainly Kampung Semarang and Kampung Labohan Dagang, both in Selangor. The objectives of the study were to monitor the exposure of the rural housewives to SPM (TSP) and CO during their cooking activities. About half of the households used firewood as fuel while the rest used gas (LPG). The observations were made over a period of 10 weeks. The results (average values) are given in Table 1.

Table 1: Air Pollutants in Malaysian Rural Household Kitchens


SPM (ug/m3)

CO (ppm)




Gas (LPG)



From this initial study, it is obvious that the air pollutants in these households have not reached levels as high as in India or Guatemala. This is due in part to the fact that the kitchens in these households are spacious and to the housewife's practice of leaving the windows (and sometimes doors) open. It is also attributed to the type and condition of firewood used. Nonetheless, one should not be complacent about it as the situation can turn for the worse if no deliberate effort is made to improve the lot of the households using firewood. The Government is making a conscientious effort to replace firewood with gas. It is however, not the ultimate solution, both firewood and gas should be replaced by other cleaner energy fuels such as hydrogen gas..

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