Salwa Naidin1, Justin Sentian This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.1, Farrah Anis Fazliatul Adnan1, Franky Herman1, Siti Rahayu Mohd Hashim2 

1 Climate Change Research Lab (CCRL), Faculty of Science and Natural Resources, Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Sabah, Malaysia
2 Department of Mathematics and Economics, Faculty of Science and Natural Resources, Universiti Malaysia Sabah, 88400 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

Received: July 24, 2023
Revised: November 16, 2023
Accepted: November 16, 2023

 Copyright The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are cited.

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Naidin, S., Sentian, J., Adnan, F.A.F., Herman, F., Mohd Hashim, S.R. (2024). Decade-Long Analysis: Unravelling the Spatio-Temporal Dynamics of PM10 Concentrations in Malaysian Borneo. Aerosol Air Qual. Res.


  • Analysis spatial and temporal variations of PM10 across Malaysian Borneo from 2006 to 2016.
  • The highest frequency of exceedance was observed in year 2006, 2015, and 2009.
  • Intense biomass burning is the primary source of transboundary PM10 pollution.
  • The variation in PM10 concentration is influenced by the monsoon season and El Nino.


High levels of particulate matter in the air, caused by air pollution from neighbouring countries, have always been a major problem in Malaysia. For many years, Malaysia has experienced a hazy atmosphere due to high levels of particulate matter (PM10) from regional biomass burning and other human activities. This study aims to analyse the changes in PM10 levels over time in Malaysian Borneo. Data collected from air quality monitoring stations over a 10-year period (2006-2016) were obtained from the Malaysian Department of Environment (DOE). Statistical analyses were conducted using the Mann Kendall test to examine trends in PM10 concentrations. The study divided Sabah and Sarawak into three regions: Northern Malaysian Borneo, Central Malaysian Borneo, and Southern Malaysian Borneo. Throughout the studied period, the highest levels of PM10 were primarily found in Southern Malaysian Borneo, with the highest concentration recorded in Sibu (434.38 µg m-3). The monitoring stations in Miri, Limbang, and Kota Kinabalu showed an increasing pollution trend, while Kuching, Sri Aman, Bintulu, Kapit, Sandakan, Tawau, and Keningau showed a significant decreasing trend. No significant trend was observed in Kota Samarahan and Sarikei. The highest annual PM10 exceedances, surpassing the Recommended Malaysian Ambient Air Quality Guideline (RMAAQG) of 150 µg m-3, occurred in 2015 and 2009 with 80 and 65 days respectively in 2006. Biomass burning is identified as the primary source of emissions, contributing to the significant monthly and seasonal variations in this region. Meteorological conditions and the El Niño phenomenon were observed to exert a significant influence on the concentration and distribution of PM10 in this area. In order to improve air quality in Malaysian Borneo, it is necessary to take a multifaceted approach encompassing source emissions reduction, inter-country collaboration, region-wide strategies for land and forest management improvement, and reinforced cooperation on pollution monitoring, reporting and reduction efforts.

Keywords: Biomass burning, El Nino, Monsoonal effect, PM10, Transboundary pollution

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