Tighter industrial emissions standards for better air quality
SINGAPORE — Industrial emissions standards will be tightened to improve air quality standards, said Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan in Parliament today (March 11), as Singapore failed to meet the 2020 air quality targets for both particulate matter and sulphur dioxide last year.
SINGAPORE — Industrial emissions standards will be tightened to improve air quality standards, as industries such as power stations and oil refineries account for a significant portion of particulate matter and sulphur dioxide emissions, said Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan today (March 11).
Speaking at his ministry’s Committee of Supply debate in Parliament, he also noted that Singapore failed to meet the 2020 air quality targets last year.
The annual mean for PM2.5 was 18 microgrammes per cubic metre last year, more than the 2020 target of 12 microgrammes per cubic metre. Meanwhile, the highest 24-hour mean for sulphur dioxide was 83 microgrammes per cubic metre last year, also far from the 2020 target of 50 microgrammes per cubic metre.
Last year, industries such as power stations and oil refineries accounted for almost all of the locally generated sulphur dioxide emissions and 43 per cent of PM2.5 emissions.
“We are therefore working with the companies involved in these industries to reduce their emissions and we will be tightening the industrial emissions standards for a range of air pollutants in order to help us achieve our targets for cleaner air,” Dr Balakrishnan said.
More details will be released later this month.
In addition, Category C diesel vehicle owners will soon receive greater impetus to go green. The Early Turnover Scheme (ETS) will be expanded to include owners of Cat C diesel vehicles with Euro II/III emissions standards.
Both Members of Parliament Penny Low (Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC) and Yeo Guat Kwang (Ang Mo Kio GRC) noted that diesel-driven vehicles are key domestic contributors of PM2.5 pollutants here. They asked if the ministry has further plans to reduce harmful emissions from these vehicles.
At present, vehicles account for 57 per cent of local PM2.5 emissions.
In response, Dr Balakrishnan said from August, these light commercial diesel vehicles will be given a certificate of entitlement (COE) bonus of 10 per cent of the remainder of the vehicle’s 20-year lifespan. The heavy commercial diesel vehicles will be given a COE bonus of 90 per cent of the remainder of its 20-year lifespan.
On the issue of transboundary haze, Dr Balakrishnan said the trigger conditions for the Transboundary Haze Pollution Act, which was passed in Parliament last year, have not been invoked yet. Despite the increased number of hot spots in Riau last year, wind conditions prevented a repeat of the haze episode in 2013, he added.
Dr Balakrishnan also reiterated the importance of cooperation with foreign governments and private companies.
“I don’t intend to engage in barbs with other foreign politicians, but let me just say this: Remember that it is not just Singaporeans who are the victims, but there are even more Indonesian victims who are suffering because they are living right in the midst of the peat fires,” he said.