Ensuring good air quality safeguards public health. It is an important component of our quality of life.
As a city develops, air pollutants are inevitably produced. Without control measures, increased urbanisation and industrialisation threaten to degrade our air quality. While our air quality is relatively good as compared to major cities, our levels of sulphur dioxide and fine particulate matter, such as PM2.5, remain a concern.
PM2.5 refers to fine air particles that measure less than 2.5 micrometres in diameter. These air particles are often found in dirt, dust and soot, and are dangerous to health because they can lodge deep in our lungs.
Many of our activities can result in air pollution. Our main sources of air pollution are vehicles, power stations and refineries.
To keep our air quality good, we review our air emission standards for industries and vehicles regularly and benchmark ourselves against major cities around the world.
For example, to reduce PM2.5 emissions from diesel vehicles, our main contributor to PM2.5 levels, stricter Euro V emission standards will be mandated for all new diesel motor vehicles from 1 Jan 2014.
MANAGEMENT OF AIR QUALITY IN SINGAPORE
Stringent measures have been put in place to ensure that Singapore maintains good air quality. From the planning stage, such as locating pollutive industries away from residential areas, down to mandating and enforcing strict emission standards, we have been careful to calibrate our air pollution control measures to strike a fine balance between supporting economic development and ensuring a high quality of life. These measures have served Singapore well over the past five decades, as can be seen by our good ambient air quality record.
24-HOUR AIR QUALITY MONITORING NETWORK
The ambient air in Singapore is monitored through a network of air monitoring stations located in different parts of Singapore. The monitoring stations measure concentration levels of particulate matter (PM10), fine particulate matter (PM2.5), sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ozone (O3), and carbon monoxide (CO). These six pollutant parameters determine the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI).
The state of air quality has an impact on our health and quality of life.
As such, the 24-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) readings of the 5 regions of Singapore are reported every hour on the Haze microsite, and myENV iPhone and Android app. The 24-hour and 1-hour PM2.5, 24-hour PM10, 24-hour SO2, 8-hour CO, 8-hour O3 and 1-hour NO2 concentration levels are also published every hour on the NEA website.
ACHIEVING HIGHER AIR QUALITY STANDARDS
MEWR has adopted the World Health Organisation (WHO) Air Quality Guidelines (AQG) for particulate matter (PM10), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO) and ozone (O3), and the WHO Interim Targets for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and sulphur dioxide (SO2), as Singapore’s air quality targets for 2020. To attain these air quality targets by 2020, abatement measures are being implemented to reduce emissions from vehicles and industries.
NEW AIR QUALITY REPORTING SYSTEM
Since August 2012, NEA has been reporting the 24-hour PM2.5 concentration levels alongside the PSI. This was done as the part of the transition to the new air quality reporting system. From 1 April 2014 onwards, the 24-hour PM2.5 concentration levels has been incorporated into the PSI. The PSI now reflects a total of 6 pollutants – sulphur dioxide (SO2), particulate matter (PM10) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO) and ozone (O3).
Under the new PSI system, the health advisory will be based on the new 24-hour PSI as it now directly takes into account PM2.5.
Previously, health advisories issued by the Government were based on 24-hour PSI and 24-hour PM2.5, whichever was worse. Moreover, the 3-hour PSI is calculated based on PM2.5 concentration levels averaged across three hours. The 1-hour PM2.5 readings, which reflect PM2.5 levels averaged across one hour, is now reported every hour on various NEA-managed platforms.
To learn more about the changes, visit Haze microsite.