Senior Minister of State for Environment and Water Resources Dr Amy Khor said that there is no correlation between burning or chemical smells and the ambient air quality readings.
She was responding to a question raised by Member of Parliament (MP) for Nee Soon GRC Lee Bee Wah on whether Yishun residents should be worried of the burning and pungent smells lingering in the area.
In the last two months, there have been several fire cases reported in Johor, namely the fires at two landfills in Bandar Tenggara and Tanjong Langsat and a fire in an oil palm plantation in Punggai.
“Between early-February and mid-March when the hotspots were detected in Johor, the 24-hour PSI reading remained within the good to moderate range, and the 1-hour PM2.5 levels remained in the normal range,” said Dr Khor in Parliament on Monday (1 April).
She added, “If there are significant variations above normal levels, unhealthy levels, we would notify the public with this information.”
Dr Khor also highlighted that the National Environment Agency (NEA) uses specific measures to monitor and keep locals updated on pollution levels in the Republic’s air quality and water supply.
NEA uses both satellite remoting sensing and a network of real-time ambient air monitoring sensors in Singapore to keep track of air pollution levels.
Following the fire that occurred in Southern Johor in February, it appeared that north-easterly winds blew the smoke plumes towards Singapore, resulting in “intermittent burning smells over the past few weeks,” said Dr Khor.
As for concerns over water quality in Singapore after illegal dumping of chemical waste occurred in Pasir Gudang, Dr Khor mentioned that the no chemical was detected in NEA’s water samples. The agency has also not reported any anomalies in the water quality at the country’s recreational coastal beaches.
Upon reading her clarification over chemical smell and air quality, many netizens dismissed her statement and said it was false. They added that it’s wrong for her to “blatantly lie” and she is talking “nonsense”. Adrian Adrian mentioned that it is “irresponsible and selfish” of her to avoid the actual issue that she was paid to resolve.
They wrote their comments on Channel NewsAsia’s Facebook page where over 100 comments were received.
A bunch of netizens also shared their personal experience at their areaa where the air quality is causing them difficulties to breathe and sleep. Others said that they don’t trust the reading and would rather trust their own senses. Some even suggested Dr Khor to visit the affected area and smell the air for herself.