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UiTM Lecturer: Klang Valley Workers Spend An Estimated 44 Hours In Traffic Each Month

"Imagine how much time is wasted every day due to traffic jams."

Cover image via WapCar & Sports & Spinal Albury Wodonga

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It is estimated that employees who work in the Klang Valley spend about an hour or two in their vehicles to get to work every day

In a report by Harian Metro, Dr Ismaniza Ismail, senior lecturer at the School of Chemistry and Environment for the Faculty of Applied Sciences at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), stated that even though eight hours of work a day is sufficient for the general public, one or two hours are 'lost', being spent in commute on the way there.

"Imagine how much time is wasted every day due to traffic jams," she said in the report.

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According to Dr Ismaniza, such complications will inherently affect job productivity, and increase mental health issues

Explaining her point using an example, she noted, "If the average hourly wage is RM7, multiplied by two hours and 22 working days, the productivity loss is estimated at RM308 a month which is 'wasted' on the road."

Going on to acknowledge road congestion issues that have worsened as of recent, she stated that such issues can go on to affect the physical, emotional, and mental health of employees, "Sitting too long in a vehicle can also cause back pain," she said.

Included within the report, Community health physician at the Faculty of Medicine in Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Professor Dr Sharifa Ezat Wan Puteh, said that being in a vehicle for too long can inherently lead to other health issues, including high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and heart problems.

"Some will experience effects on their heart, increased aggression, feeling nervous, and even experience heartache due to stress. In addition, it can increase allergies, difficulty in breathing, lack of sleep, and even cause an early death in some instances," she stated.

Discussing a myriad of potential solutions, Dr Ismaniza stated that flexible working hours may be the adequate answer to these problems

"Flexible work weeks that offer the option of choosing working days as practised in many developed countries, or working from home are also alternatives that can increase work productivity, as there is less risk of getting stuck in congestion."

Nonetheless, the UiTM Professor was also forthright in how this may not be the solution for every working individual in the Klang Valley, "However, this cannot be utilised by certain jobs such as teachers who have no option but to go out to work, and also road users who send their children to school," she said.

As an alternative, Dr Ismaniza suggested that upgrading the quality of existing public transport services with a more extensive network of routes would make a considerable difference to society.

Speaking on the environmental impacts of traffic jams, Dr Sharifa Ezat also stated that road congestions will increase air pollution, which in turn can cause our blood to be exposed to toxins. This may potentially bring on heart attacks, chest pains, breathing difficulties, and lung cancer.

Suggesting an effective solution, Dr Sharifa stated that one should avoid smoking or vaping in the car, as it can affect the ventilation system.

And while traffic jams also reduce the time to partake in physical activities, one must practise healthy eating habits, or even find simple ways to de-stress when in the car, "Do some light stretching activities, calm your mind by playing music to reduce stress while stuck in congestion," she said.

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Click here to read the full report by Harian Metro

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