Environmental monitoring is an essential element in the management of the environment. Quality data from monitoring activities allow for the more sustainable planning of development projects, support the effectiveness of enforcement activities and enhance the overall management of the nation’s living environment and natural resources. Environmental data that contributes to establishing the status of the environment also represents a useful tool in the assessment of the effectiveness and improvement of management strategies.
In Malaysia, the systematic monitoring of the nation’s air quality and water resources, including the marine environment has essentially been the responsibility of the Department of Environment under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. Monitoring activities commenced shortly after the establishment of the department in 1975. The nation-wide monitoring program assessing air and river water quality was contracted out to the private sector in 1995.
In June 2016, Pakar Scieno TW Sdn Bhd was awarded a 15-year contract to develop, establish and implement the National Environmental Quality Monitoring Program (NEQMP) which represents a new era in environmental quality monitoring network design and technology in Malaysia.
The NEQMP is a significantly-enhanced network of environmental quality monitoring stations encompassing both continuous and manual modes of monitoring distributed throughout the nation, including Sabah and Sarawak.
The monitoring network allows for real-time air, river and marine water quality data to be measured and recorded, while the manual stations where air, river or marine water samples are collected and sent to the laboratory to be analysed, complement the nation’s environmental database with a more comprehensive set of parameters.
In addition to a significant increase in the number of monitoring stations compared to the current network, the NEQMP also involves the monitoring of additional parameters including PM 2.5, as well as many other air and water quality parameters.
Included in the NEQMP is the Environmental Data Centre which functions as the terminus and repository for the transmission and storage of all the environmental data generated in the program.
In addition to the generation of ambient environmental quality data and information, the NEQMP includes the monitoring and investigation of pollution events.
Analysis of the environmental data and information generated provides the basis for effective and timely management of the nation’s environment from day to day operational management to long-term formulation of management strategies.