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Singapore still behind 2020 targets for air quality levels: Masagos

SINGAPORE — Air quality levels in Singapore in 2019 fell short of the goals the Republic had set itself to meet by this year for particulate matter and ozone, Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli said on Friday (March 6).

Singapore is taking a range of steps to improve air quality, Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli said on March 6, 2020.

Singapore is taking a range of steps to improve air quality, Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli said on March 6, 2020.

SINGAPORE — Air quality levels in Singapore in 2019 fell short of the goals the Republic had set itself to meet by this year for particulate matter and ozone, Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli said on Friday (March 6).

Mr Masagos was responding in a written answer to a question from Nominated Member of Parliament Anthea Ong who had asked how Singapore performed in 2019 on its 2020 air quality targets for fine particulate matter (PM2.5), sulphur dioxide, ozone and nitrogen dioxide emissions.

These are the pollutants that determine the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI), which people look to gauge air quality during a period of haze, for instance.

Mr Masagos said that the nation had fallen short of the target for two grades of particulate matter: PM10 and PM2.5.

The targeted PM2.5 annual mean is 12 µg/m3, but the Republic’s performance for 2019 stood at 16 µg/m3. PM2.5 is among the potentially most harmful to human health, and the main pollutant during haze.

For PM10, the targeted annual mean is 20 µg/m3, but the annual mean for 2019 was 30 µg/m3.

In terms of ozone emissions, Singapore fell short of a targeted eight-hour mean of 100 µg/m3, registering 125 µg/m3.

Ozone is formed when pollutants emitted by cars, refineries, chemical plants, and other sources react chemically in the presence of sunlight.

Though Singapore met the annual mean target for sulphur dioxide, it did not meet the target for maximum 24-hour mean, with emissions being 7 µg/m3 higher than the targeted 50 µg/m3.

Annual mean measures the performance across the year, but maximum 24-hour mean measures the highest 24-hour reading in that year.

Sulphur dioxide emissions are released primarily as a result of fossil fuel burning power stations.

Mr Masagos highlighted, however, that the nation did meet targets for both nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide emissions.

Nitrogen dioxide is commonly released by car exhaust, while carbon monoxide by gas stoves or burning charcoal.

To bring down the numbers for the various types of pollution, the Government has implemented a “suite of measures”, such as tightening industrial emission standards for new and existing plants from 2015 to 2023, he said.

Measures have been introduced to manage the emissions from vehicles, he added.

“These include stricter standards for fuel quality and tighter emissions standards for new vehicles, as well as incentive schemes to turn over older, more pollutive vehicles and encourage the purchase of new and cleaner vehicles,” he said. “We will continue to review these measures.”

Ms Ong also asked if the Government will consider building and publishing emissions inventories for all pollutant types so that it can better identify the different sources of air pollutants and manage air quality.

Mr Masagos replied that the National Environment Agency conducts an emissions inventory and studies this to identify key sources of air pollutants in Singapore and to develop air quality management strategies.

“These internal studies help us fine-tune and improve our air quality management strategies,” he added.

 

Related topics

climate change ozone carbon emission environment

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