Center for Environment and Energy Research & Studies (CEERS)

Particulate matter dispersion and haze occurrence potential studies at a local palm oil mill

ABSTRACT: The emissions from palm oil industry through incineration and open burning are the major sources of air pollutions contribution in Malaysia. The consequence of increasing the particulate concentration, the particulate matter dissolves with vapour and grows into droplets when the humidity exceeds approximately 70% and causing opaque situation known as haze. This work focuses on the dispersion particulate matter from palm oil mill. Gaussian Plume Model from a point source, subject to various atmospheric conditions is used to calculate particulate matter concentration then display the distribution of plume dispersion using geographic information system. Atmospheric Stability, mixing height, wind direction, wind speed, natural and artificial features play an important role in dispersion process. Study on the dispersion of particulate matters and the haze potential are presented as a case study in this paper. The data obtained will be served as the purpose of modeling the transport of particulate matter for obtaining permits and prevention of significant deterioration to the environment.

Keywords: Particulate matter, haze, gaussian plume model, stability, geographic information system

Malaysia has enjoyed one of the least polluted urban environments in Asia. The goal of achieving industrial country status by the year 2020 and the associated rapid economic growth have started to impose costs in terms of industrial pollution and the degradation of urban environment. Depletion of fisheries, air and water pollution, and contamination by industrial wastes become more serious in Malaysia in recent years. Among them, air pollution is the major issue that has been affecting human health, agricultural crops, forest species, and ecosystems. Only a few studies have been conducted on air pollution in Malaysia. Most of them are related to the 1997 haze episode. In most years, the Malaysian air quality was dominated by the occurrence of dense haze episodes. From July to October 1997, Malaysia was badly affected by smoke haze caused by land and forest fires. Previous incidents of severe haze in the country were reported in April 1983 (Chow and Lim, 1983), August 1990 (Cheang, 1991; Sham, 1991), June and October 1991 (Cheang, 1991), and August to October 1994 (Yap, 1995).

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